Dr. Gail O. Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College, has been selected as the recipient 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, the award recognizes outstanding leadership on the part of a college or university president or chancellor.  The American Council on Education (ACE), which administers the award, convened an independent panel that selected the winner from over 4,000 college presidents.

The TIAA Institute bestowed this honor in Washington, DC, ACE’s 99th Annual Meeting.  President Mellow’s acceptance speech highlights the essential role of higher education in a rapidly changing world. View the video of Dr. Mellow’s award acceptance.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Mellow called upon her fellow educators to, “share my fierce resolve to ensure that colleges and universities remain steadfast in our commitment to a diverse America.” Dr. Mellow concluded by saying, “Together, let’s spark a renaissance of extraordinary college teaching. I believe it is central to our ability to sustain our global, digitally-driven, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, human community.”

The Hesburgh Award cites Dr. Mellow’s numerous achievements on helping people secure a life of economic stability for themselves and their families through education. She led a restructuring of LaGuardia’s programs and services to help students stay on the path to graduation. Dr. Mellow has also spurred extensive collaborations with businesses and community groups making LaGuardia a catalyst for economic development and job creation.

The award is accompanied by a $20,000 gift, which President Mellow has donated to the LaGuardia Community College Foundation.