New Haven, CT – January 23, 2023 – Hanna Holborn Gray, 10th President of the University of Chicago and 18th Acting President of Yale University, will accept the Legend in Leadership Award from the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute on January 24 at the Yale Higher Education Leadership Summit in New Haven, CT. The award will be presented by Peter Salovey, 23rd President, Yale University; Lynn C. Pasquerella, 18th President, Mount Holyoke College, and 14th President, AAC&U; and Andrew Hamilton, 16th President, New York University.
Summit organizer Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean for leadership studies at the Yale School of Management, commented:
“We are honored to celebrate Hanna Holborn Gray, a trailblazing pioneer in academia who shattered countless glass ceilings. The daughter of refugees from Nazism who escaped after her father voiced opposition to Hitler’s regime, Hanna Gray not only became the first woman to serve as president of any of the major universities, but even more broadly, she has notched at least nine major academic ‘firsts,’ from first female teaching fellow at Harvard to first female provost of Yale to first female President of Yale to first female President of the University of Chicago.
“During her two university presidencies, she transformed two world-class academic institutions and built an enduring legacy as an academic administrator. Her stewardship of the University of Chicago provided a stabilizing influence at a time when the university underwent significant growth in both faculty and students as well as physical expansion, with the University of Chicago rising in the rankings over her 15-year tenure.
“Her leadership was recognized by the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991, among many other honors. Since her retirement, President Gray has remained an active, vocal advocate for higher education and an inspiring mentor and presence for nearly 30 years now and counting. In particular, her advocacy for increasing gender equality in academia, increasing funding for higher education, and protecting academic integrity make her voice one of the most admired across the world of higher education.”
Hanna Holborn Gray is a historian with special interests in the history of humanism, political and historical thought, and church history and politics in the Renaissance and the Reformation. She was president of the University of Chicago from July 1, 1978, through June 30, 1993, and acting President of Yale University prior to that.
President Gray is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Renaissance Society of America, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Education, and the Council on Foreign Relations of New York. She holds honorary degrees from more than 60 colleges and universities, including Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Michigan, Oxford, Princeton, Rockefeller, Toronto, and Yale.
President Gray currently serves as a trustee of the Newberry Library, the Marlboro School of Music, the Dan David Prize, and several other nonprofit institutions. She has served on the boards of Bryn Mawr College, Harvard University, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and Yale University, and among others.
President Gray was one of twelve distinguished foreign-born Americans to receive the Medal of Liberty from President Reagan at ceremonies marking the rekindling of the Statue of Liberty's lamp in 1986. In 1991, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, from President Bush. Among other recognitions, she has received the Jefferson Medal of the American Philosophical Society and the National Humanities Award in 1993. In 1996, President Gray received the University of Chicago’s Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and in 2006, the Newberry Library Award. In 2008, she received the Chicago History Maker Award from the Chicago History Museum.
President Gray’s most recent publications are Searching for Utopia: Universities and Their Histories (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011) and An Academic Life: A Memoir (Princeton, 2018).
The Legend in Leadership Award was created 25 years ago to honor current and former CEOs and university presidents who serve as living legends to inspire leaders across industries, sectors, and nations. Past recipients include: Andrew Hamilton, President, New York University, Lawrence S. Bacow, 29th President, Harvard University; Freeman A. Hrabowski III, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Donna E. Shalala, former President, University of Miami, and 18th secretary of health and human services; Johnnetta B. Cole, president emerita of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, and 7th president of Spelman College; Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University, and 18th president of Brown University; Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo; Ken Frazier, former CEO of Merck; Doug McMillen, CEO of Walmart; Mary T. Barra, chairman and chief executive of General Motors; Brian C. Cornell, CEO, Target; Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO, Bank of America; Lynn Good, CEO of Duke Energy; Darius Adamczyk, CEO of Honeywell; David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co- executive chairman, The Carlyle Group; Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast; Ken Chenault, former CEO of American Express; Marillyn Hewson, former CEO of Lockheed Martin; Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. A full list of recipients can be found online.
The summit theme is “Teaching Colleges to Learn: Governance, Administration, Campus Life, and Community Engagement.” A group of university presidents and board chairs from globally renowned colleges and universities will engage in lively, candid discussions at this invitation-only leaders’ conference hosted by the Yale School of Management.
Conference partners are TIAA, McKinsey and Company, Russell Reynolds Associates, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.