PHILADELPHIA — The TIAA Institute, in partnership with the American Council on Education (ACE), announced today that Georgia State University President Mark Becker is the recipient of the 2019 Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education.
The award recognizes a college or university president or chancellor who has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities.
During Becker’s 10-year tenure as Georgia State president, the university has become nationally recognized as one of the country’s most diverse universities and a model for innovative programs that foster student success. It has set records for dramatically increasing its graduation rates and leading the country in eliminating disparities in student achievement based on race, ethnicity and income. Through its consolidation with Georgia Perimeter College in 2016, Georgia State became one of the largest universities in the nation and the largest in Georgia, with 53,000 students.
“Mark Becker has worked hard to create opportunities for students of all social and economic backgrounds,” Stephanie Bell-Rose, TIAA senior managing director and head of the TIAA Institute. “Under his leadership, Georgia State has made a significant impact in the lives of countless individuals. President Becker’s innovations demonstrate that even the largest public universities can offer students personalized attention — and achieve incredible results. It’s these reasons why we are honored to present President Becker with the Hesburgh Award.”
The Hesburgh Award is named in honor of the late Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C, former University of Notre Dame president and a world-renowned educator and humanitarian.
“Father Hesburgh was a transformational leader and icon of American higher education,” Becker said. “To be associated with him through this award is humbling and a tremendous honor. There is no higher ideal than to embody Father Hesburgh’s commitment to higher education and society at large.”
The American Council on Education convenes an independent panel of judges to administer the Hesburgh Award on the TIAA Institute’s behalf. It was presented today at ACE2019, ACE’s 101st Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, in front of hundreds of leaders in higher education, including deans, presidents and chancellors from colleges and universities across the country.
“It is a privilege for ACE to join the TIAA Institute in recognizing the accomplishments of a visionary leader like Mark Becker, who is rightly known as one of the most innovative college presidents in America,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “The innovations President Becker and his team have put in place at Georgia State didn’t occur overnight – and are the product of Mark’s willingness to engage in deliberate, systematic, and sustained experimentation and investment. The results have been nothing short of extraordinary.”
Previous winners of the Hesburgh Award include Southern New Hampshire University President Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc, LaGuardia Community College President Dr. Gail O. Mellow and Medal of Freedom winner Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, president of Miami Dade College.