ACE Lifetime Achievement Award to be Presented to Lawrence S. Bacow During ACE2023
March 29, 2023

Lawrence S. Bacow, the outgoing president of Harvard University, will be recognized with the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Lifetime Achievement Award during ACE2023, the Council’s Annual Meeting set for April 13-15 in Washington, DC.

headshot of Soraya M. Coley

​​Lawrence S. Bacow

Bacow, who steps down in June after serving as Harvard’s 29th president since 2018 and as a member of the Harvard Corporation since 2011, will be honored April 14 when he delivers the Robert H. Atwell Plenary address—named by the ACE Board of Directors for the former ACE president who served from 1984 to 1996. The award recognizes exceptional and visionary college or university presidents and chancellors who have dedicated their careers to championing the value of higher education and the good it does for our students and society.

“There is no better advocate for his students, the institutions he has served, or for American higher education than Larry Bacow,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “Larry’s own life story exemplifies the unparalleled power of higher education to transform lives, institutions, and communities. He has been a passionate and effective champion of expanding access to higher education to students from all walks of life and of strengthening the role of postsecondary education in this country as a public good. It is a privilege for ACE, and for me personally, to bestow this honor on a man who has done so much for American higher education.”

Bacow has served as Harvard’s president since 2018, previously serving as a Hauser Leader-in-Residence at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Center for Public Leadership. Before coming to Harvard, Bacow was president of Tufts University, as well as the past chancellor and a former chair of the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was also a senior advisor to Ithaka S+R, a nonprofit organization devoted to innovation in higher education, and has served as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Lincoln Project on preserving and strengthening the nation’s public research universities and the White House Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

While at Tufts, Bacow emerged as a nationally recognized champion of expanding access to higher education through need-based student aid, while also advocating vigorously for federal support of university-based research.

He has academic interests across a range of fields. Bacow is a widely recognized expert on non-adjudicatory approaches to the resolution of environmental disputes. He was co-director of MIT’s Consortium on Global Environmental Challenges and played a key role in launching and leading both the MIT Center for Environmental Initiatives and the MIT Center for Real Estate. He was also associated with the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. At Tufts, he held faculty appointments in five academic departments: Urban and Environmental Policy, Economics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Public Health, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

In recent years, Bacow has turned his scholarly focus to higher education and leadership. From 2011 to 2014, he served as President-in-Residence in the Higher Education Program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

ACE2023 will bring leaders together who are committed to building higher education’s future, designing solutions, sharing insights, and discovering sustainable strategies that will move their institutions forward. For more information and to register, click here. Follow ACE2023 conversations on Twitter by using the hashtag #ACE2023DC.

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