Tulane University President Scott Cowen is one of four university leaders around the nation to receive the 2009 Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award.
The award recognizes university leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in undergraduate education, both teaching and research; the development of major interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs that aim to bridge the gulf between the theoretical and the practical; focused university outreach to their local communities; cooperative efforts with business, education and civic leaders on initiatives such as K-12 school reform; and the expansion and improvement of international initiatives and global engagement.
"These leaders each have an academic vision focused on a commitment to excellence. They are first-rate educators and innovators who champion their students" intellectual development and their schools" opportunity and obligation to contribute to the growth of their local communities," said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, who announced the awards today.
Gregorian added that in perilous economic times, each leader has used distinctive leadership skills to transform crisis to opportunity.
The Carnegie Corporation Board of Trustees will honor these individuals with grants of $500,000 each to be used at the leader"s own discretion toward academic priorities at his or her respective institution.
"I am greatly honored by this award from one of the world"s leading supporters of higher education," said Cowen. "The Carnegie Corporation has been a great friend and advocate of New Orleans during this time of rebuilding and renewal."
Cowen will dedicate his $500,000 grant to a university-wide set of initiatives in civic engagement, including public education and social entrepreneurship, currently underway at Tulane.
"Building on our national reputation in civic engagement, especially post-Katrina, we now want every Tulane student to consider the possibility of social entrepreneurship," Cowen said.
The other 2009 Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award recipients are Leon Botstein, president of Bard College; Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania; and William E. "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland.
The Academic Leadership Award, established in 2005, is an investment in leadership by Carnegie Corporation that builds on the foundation"s long tradition of developing and recognizing leadership in higher education. In the Carnegie Quarterly of April 1959, published during the presidency of John Gardner, the strength of the corporation"s grants program was described as seeking to be "as responsive as possible to the expressed concerns of college and university leaders" and to "lend itself to the kinds of giving which will strengthen the institution in terms which the president considers necessary." The reestablishment of this award for academic leadership renews and continues a Carnegie Corporation higher education tradition.