Leadership in Action: TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence Winners

March 2018

The breadth of initiatives led by the Hesburgh Award winners reveals the variety and complexity of higher education institutions.


The 10 Hesburgh Award recipients chronicled in this report have successfully weathered an array of challenges at the helm of their institutions, from an epic hurricane to crippling budget cuts. Their strategies and achievements in the face of adversity can offer practical insights to all academic leaders. The Hesburgh Award is named for the late Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. Father Hesburgh was past president of the University of Notre Dame, a longtime member of the TIAA and CREF Boards of Overseers, and among the most influential figures in the modern history of higher education.

Key Insights
The Hesburgh Award winners all take a global view of their institutions, synthesizing information from a range of sources to generate creative solutions to problems.
The winners also excel at articulating an inspirational vision with a clear path forward.
Each winner further displays a willingness to take calculated risks; a commitment to support traditionally underserved populations; and a talent for building communities and partnerships.

Each profiled leader, as part of his or her Hesburgh award application, submitted written responses to questions posed by the TIAA Institute concerning leadership styles and experiences. To further enrich this publication, the Institute asked additional higher education and business leaders to submit brief thought pieces on leadership from their perspectives.