The TIAA Institute, in partnership with the American Council on Education (ACE), announced Shirley Reed, President, South Texas College, and Joseph E. Aoun, President, Northeastern University, as the recipients of the 2020 Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education.
The Hesburgh Award recognizes college or university presidents or chancellors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities. The award is named in honor of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., (1917-2015) past president of the University of Notre Dame and longtime member of the TIAA and CREF Boards of Overseers. A world-renowned educator and humanitarian, Father Hesburgh was a lifelong champion of human rights, the cause of peace, and care of the poor.
“Higher education is at an inflection point as the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered schools across the country, underscoring the need for new technology and a sharpened focus on equity in order to transform the system for future generations of students,” said Stephanie Bell-Rose, TIAA Senior Managing Director and Head of the TIAA Institute. “It is times like these that require strong leadership, and through their courage and vision Presidents Reed and Aoun are guiding the way as they help the higher education system navigate a path forward.”
Shirley Reed, President, South Texas College
Dr. Shirley Reed, the founding president of South Texas College, has devoted the last 26 years to making higher education accessible to the Latinx community of South Texas. Through Dr. Reed’s leadership and foresight, South Texas College serves a region of nearly one million people along the U.S.-Mexico border who did not previously have access to a community college.
“I am humbled to be associated with the transformational educator, Father Hesburgh,” said Dr. Reed. “He would have been proud of the achievement of South Texas College in transforming a region that suffered from a legacy of neglect and social injustice into a vibrant and critical economic leader for the future of the state of Texas and the entire nation.”
South Texas College has expanded to five campuses, has added a virtual campus, and now offers 137 degree and certificate programs, helping to provide essential social and economic mobility in the region.
ACE convenes an independent panel of judges to administer the Hesburgh Award on the TIAA Institute’s behalf. The award had been scheduled to be presented at the ACE2020, their 102nd annual meeting on March 15th, but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
To learn more about the Hesburgh Award, visit the awards page at https://www.tiaainstitute.org/about/awards .