Duke's Brodhead receives well-earned honor

December 9, 2013 

Duke University’s Richard H. Brodhead, president since 2004, is used to working at elite levels. Before Duke, he spent 32 years at his alma mater, Yale, as an English professor and dean of Yale College. And now he has been honored for being at the top of higher education.

On Monday, the Carnegie Corporation of New York announced that Brodhead is one of four recipients of its 2013 Academic Leadership Award. The award honors exceptional leaders in higher education and includes a $500,000 grant to support each honoree’s academic initiatives.

Brodhead has done impressive work in engaging the major challenges faced by higher education and Duke. He has worked to counter high tuition costs with more financial aid. He launched an initiative that has raised more than $300 million and more than doubled undergraduate aid. He has bolstered support for the humanities as co-chair of the national Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. He has addressed Duke’s relationship with Durham by creating the Office of Durham and Regional Affairs that promotes economic development, affordable home ownership and community participation by Duke students. And he still teaches English.

Now the president who has edited a book of essays on Moby-Dick is closing in on what is the great white whale for a university leader: the combination of first-rate academics and highly ranked basketball and football programs.

Brodhead’s impressive work is rightly honored.

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