The Institute’s signature award programs are designed to advance knowledge and recognize leadership excellence.

The TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security

Harvard and Yale researchers win the 22nd annual TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award.

Named in honor of the late Nobel Prize winner and former CREF trustee, the TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award For Outstanding Scholarly Writing On Lifelong Financial Security is given annually by the TIAA Institute to recognize an outstanding research publication that helps advance Americans’ lifelong financial well-being.

A panel of distinguished judges selects the award winner and the TIAA Institute announces the winner every year during the annual meeting of the Allied Social Sciences Associations.

Dr. Samuelson is credited with helping turn economics from an academic discipline to problem solving. An example of the principles championed by Dr. Samuelson is a collaboration between James Choi, Yale University and Brigitte Madrian, John Beshears, and David Laibson, Harvard University, for their recent Samuelson award-winning paper "Does Aggregated Returns Disclosure Increase Portfolio Risk-Taking?"

Prior experiments suggest participants take on more investment risk if they see less frequent returns, portfolio-level (rather than individual asset) returns, or long-horizon (rather than one-year) historical return distributions. In contrast, the authors find such aggregated information does not affect total equity investment when the investment environment is made more realistic than in past studies. Aggregation effects found previously are not robust to changes in the risky asset's return distribution or to the introduction of multiday delay between portfolio choice and return realizations.

According to Conrad S. Ciccotello, one of the award judges, "This paper shows the link between information aggregation and risk taking does not hold up under greater scrutiny. The authors offer a new and more robust perspective on how investor behaviors and disclosure policies can impact risk taking and, ultimately, financial security."

Previous Winners

The TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education

The 2017 TIAA Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education Hesburgh Award was given to Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, N.Y., in recognition of her work to advance the role and function of community colleges in New York City and within higher education broadly.

A nationally recognized expert on the history, development and future of the American community college, Dr. Mellow co-authored Minding the Dream: The Process and Practice of the American Community College (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), as well as numerous articles and editorials about issues facing higher education in America.

The Hesburgh Award is named in honor of the late Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., former 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 (1917-2015) was among the most influential figures in the modern history of higher education.

This prestigious annual award, which is sponsored by the TIAA Institute and administered by the American Council on Education (ACE), is given to a current college or university president or chancellor who embodies Father Hesburgh’s commitment to higher education and society at large. The winner is chosen by an independent panel of judges.

Dr. Mellow’s award was presented on March 13, 2017, by Doug Chittenden, TIAA Executive Vice President, Institutional Financial Services, during a plenary luncheon at ACE’s 99th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Previous Winners


Father Hesburgh on leadership excellence