TIAA Institute honors South Texas College and Northeastern University Presidents with 2020 Hesburgh Award for Leadership

NEW YORK, June 9, 2020 – 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.

Joseph E. Aoun, President, Northeastern University

Joseph E. Aoun is the seventh President of Northeastern University and is a well-known higher education thought leader and renowned scholar in linguistics. He is spearheading the university’s ambitious Northeastern 2025 strategic plan, which calls for bold action to align education and research with the realities of the age of artificial intelligence.

Under President Aoun’s leadership, Northeastern University is leading the way in interdisciplinary, cross-sector collaboration in learning and discovery, and forging new partnerships globally, with seven campuses across North America and the United Kingdom. Northeastern is uniquely positioned to remain a leader in higher education, equipping its students with the skillsets necessary to be successful in a technology-driven world.

“Rev. Hesburgh was one of the great higher education leaders of the 20th century; it is deeply humbling to receive this award,” said Aoun. “He valued the uniquely human attributes that distinguish us from machines. This is critically important as our society faces the challenges, and opportunities, of the AI age.”

"It is a privilege to join TIAA in honoring two transformative, tireless and inspirational leaders,” said Ted Mitchell, President, ACE. “In the best tradition of the drive and spirit to make postsecondary education a primary engine of social and economic equity in America exemplified by Rev. Hesburgh, Dr. Aoun and Dr. Reed have each impacted the lives of their students, their institutions and all of higher education. Now, more than ever, they demonstrate the dedicated and compassionate leadership that is needed on our campuses nationwide.”

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 our Awards page.

Press Contact: John McCool, 888-200-4062, media@tiaa.org

About the TIAA Institute
The TIAA Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness. The institute conducts in-depth research, provides access to a network of thought leaders, and enables those it serves to anticipate trends, plan future strategies and maximize opportunities for success. For more information about the TIAA Institute, visit www.tiaainstitute.org.

About ACE
ACE is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, our strength lies in our diverse membership of more than 1,700 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations in America and abroad. ACE is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions: two year and four year, public and private. For more information, please visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.

About Northeastern University
Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a global research university and the recognized leader in experience-powered lifelong learning. Its world-renowned experiential approach empowers students, faculty, alumni and partners to create impact far beyond the confines of discipline, degree and campus. Through a growing global university system, the university expands opportunities for flexible, student-centered learning and collaborative, solutions-focused research.

About South Texas College
Founded in 1993, South Texas College offers more than 137 degree & certificate options, including associate degrees in a variety of liberal art, social science, business, math, science, technology, advanced manufacturing and allied health fields of study. South Texas College is the only community college in the state of Texas to offer five baccalaureate degrees.

About TIAA
With an award-winning track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA (TIAA.org) is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and governmental fields. TIAA has $1 trillion in assets under management (as of 3/31/2020) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and education, and retirement services