The TIAA Institute has announced Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College, as the winner of the 2017 TIAA Institute Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, one of the most prestigious awards in academia. Named in honor of Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. (1917-2015), former president of the University of Notre Dame and a world-renowned educator and humanitarian, the award recognizes outstanding leadership on the part of a college or university president or chancellor.
ACE, which administers the award on the Institute’s behalf, convened an independent panel of judges that selected the winner. The TIAA Institute bestowed this honor March 13 at ACE2017 in Washington, DC.
During President Mellow’s 16-year tenure at LaGuardia Community College, she has tripled the school’s enrollment and doubled full-time faculty. Today LaGuardia serves more than 50,000 degree-seeking and continuing education New Yorkers each year, and has one of the nation’s highest graduation rates among urban community colleges that serve low-income students.
The TIAA Institute provides a $20,000 grant to Hesburgh awardees, which President Mellow has decided to contribute in full to the LaGuardia Community College Foundation, which gives out nearly $1.8M annually in scholarships and emergency financial support to the College’s primarily low-income and new-immigrant students. More than 70 percent of LaGuardia students have family incomes that are less than $25,000 a year.
For more details, see the TIAA Institute website.