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

Apply for the 2020 TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award:  Application

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

Shirley A. Reed, president of South Texas College, and Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University, were both named winners of the 2020 TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education. The independent panel of judges selected these leaders for the profound impact they have had at their respective institutions.

For the past 25 years, Shirley Reed has served as founding president of South Texas College (STC). Under her leadership, STC has become a nationally recognized community college with over 33,000 credit students each semester and a faculty and staff of more than 2,700. The college also has had a transformative effect on the largely Hispanic community it serves along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Under President Aoun, Northeastern University has reached the upper echelons of higher education, professional learning and funded research. Through his leadership, the university has tripled external research funding, increased graduate program enrollment, and revolutionized its signature co-op program, turning it into a holistic learning experience that touches every facet of a student’s education.

The Hesburgh Award is named in honor of the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., 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 (1917-2015) was a lifelong champion of human rights, the cause of peace, and care for the poor. He received both the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Sponsored by the TIAA Institute and administered by the American Council on Education, the Hesburgh Award is given to a current college or university president or chancellor who embodies Father Hesburgh’s commitment to higher education and society at large. 

Previous Winners

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

Dr. Lee M. Lockwood of the University of Virginia won 2019 TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award for his paper "Incidental Bequests and the Choice to Self-Insure Late-Life Risks,” published in American Economic Review 2018, 108(9): 2513–2550.

Despite facing significant uncertainty about their lifespans and health care costs, most retirees do not buy annuities or long-term care insurance. This paper shows that retirees’ saving and insurance choices are highly inconsistent with standard life-cycle models in which people care only about their own consumption but match well models in which bequests are luxury goods.

According to Melinda Morrill, one of the Samuelson Award judges, “This paper makes a substantive contribution to our understanding of how individuals use (or not) annuitization and insurance.  It augments the life-cycle model to reevaluate the role of the bequest motive and puts a clear interpretation on what was seemingly contradictory evidence.”

“I am honored to receive the Samuelson Award and to have my research recognized alongside that of the distinguished past winners,” said Dr. Lockwood. “You always hope that your research will help improve people's lives, and I am grateful to the TIAA Institute for this recognition and its efforts to ensure that research findings improve Americans' financial well-being.”

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 recipient and the TIAA Institute announces the winner each year during the annual meeting of the Allied Social Sciences Associations.

Previous Winners