7 visionary college presidents, according to Carnegie Corporation

The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded leadership awards to seven higher education presidents, citing their commitment to diversity, engagement with local communities, and more.

The award was created in 2005 as a way to recognize education leaders who exemplified Andrew Carnegie's belief in using education to strengthen democracy and create a more civil society, Celeste Ford writes on the corporation's website. The corporation awards $500,000 to each recipient for use on academic initiatives.

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Carnegie considers several factors in awarding the honor, including:

  • Dedication to creativity;
  • Demonstrated vision;
  • Dedication to interdisciplinary programs;
  • Commitment to  excellence in liberal arts;
  • Commitment to equality in opportunity;
  • Commitment to the local community; and
  • Focus on international engagement.

Note: EAB congratulates presidents of member institutions who received the award. Institutions listed below that are EAB members are marked with an asterisk.

Here are this year's recipients and a summary of the Carnegie Corporation's profiles of them:

Joseph E. Aoun, president, Northeastern University*   

Since 2006, Aoun has started more than 140 academic programs and recruited more than 600 faculty. Aoun is known to be a strong supporter of experiential learning and has launched several new opportunities for students to gain real-world experience, Ford writes.

Mark Becker, president, Georgia State University*

Becker has helped Georgia State University became nationally recognized as a leader in student equity and for promoting student success among African-American students. He has also increased the number of Black and Hispanic students who graduate with STEM degrees by 69% and 226%, respectively.

John DeGioia, president, Georgetown University*

Degioia has worked to better connect Georgetown with local communities in Washington, D.C., Ford writes. He has helped Georgetown maintain its commitment to its Catholic and Jesuit identities, while at the same time publicly acknowledging Georgetown's role in the slave trade and launching research centers to study and combat racism.

Nariman Farvardin, president, Stevens Institute of Technology*

Farvardin has expanded opportunities for experiential learning and international study, according to Carnegie. He has also spearheaded a 10-year strategic review to bolster the institutions' research capabilities.

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Maria Klawe, president, Harvey Mudd College

In addition to being a renowned mathematician and computer scientist, Klawe has been an outspoken advocate of closing the gender gap for women. She has also been committed to increasing both gender and racial diversity at Harvey Mudd College.

DeRionne Pollard, president, Montgomery College*  

Pollard has increased the combined graduation and transfer rate by six percentage points in the past year at Montgomery College, a community college with 56,000 students. She has also helped advance workforce development partnerships and spurred funding from the federal government—making Montgomery College a model for adult learning, Ford writes.

Barbara Snyder, president, Case Western Reserve University*

During Snyder's tenure, she has tripled undergraduate applications and led a $1.5 billion capital campaign. She has also built partnerships with community organizations, including Cleveland Clinic, which provides students with health education, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, for arts education (Ford, Carnegie Corporation release, accessed 9/13).

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