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37th Annual Awards Program

The Aspen Institute looks forward to celebrating a new year full of ideas, practices, and bonds with a virtual 37th Annual Awards Program to premiere in early January 2022. The pre-recorded program will be made available to our community of friends, Fellows, and supporters, and enables the Institute to continue its annual programming while highlighting the important work of our esteemed honorees.

We are proud to present the Henry Crown Leadership Award to physician and geneticist Dr. Francis Collins. We wish to honor Dr. Collins for his exceptional leadership of the National Institutes of Health, most notably during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the extraordinary medical breakthroughs discovered during his tenure at the Human Genome Project. We are also delighted to honor Ursula M. Burns with the Corporate Leadership Award. Ms. Burns served as a trailblazing role model and singular innovator during a time of tectonic shifts in, and disruption to, the way businesses operate and how CEOs lead. As the first Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company, she is committed to promoting women as leaders, empowering and inspiring future generations. The virtual program will feature our honorees in thoughtful conversations with Andrea Mitchell of NBC news and Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.

We hope you will join us for this year’s Annual Awards Program. If you would like to be sent a link for the program, or if you wish to make a donation to support, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact Dianna Shypailo by email at [email protected] or by phone at 202-736-3503.

About the Honorees:

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. was appointed the 16th Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate. He was sworn in on August 17, 2009. In 2017, President Donald Trump asked Dr. Collins to continue to serve as the NIH Director. President Joe Biden did the same in 2021. Dr. Collins is the only Presidentially appointed NIH Director to serve more than one administration. In this role, Dr. Collins oversees the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research.

Dr. Collins is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. He served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH from 1993-2008.

Dr. Collins is an elected member of both the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007, and received the National Medal of Science in 2009. In 2020, he was elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (UK) and was also named the 50th winner of the Templeton Prize, which celebrates scientific and spiritual curiosity.

Ursula M. Burns has extensive international experience in leading large companies that are facing technology sea changes within their industries. Ms. Burns was the Chairman of the Board of Xerox Corporation from 2010 to 2017 and Chief Executive Officer from 2009 to 2016, after having been appointed President in 2007. Ms. Burns joined Xerox as a summer intern in 1980 and has since held leadership posts spanning corporate services, manufacturing, and product development. During Ms. Burns’ tenure as Chief Executive Officer, she helped the company transform from a global leader in document technology to the world’s most diversified business services company serving enterprises and governments of all sizes. Shortly after being named CEO in 2009, Ms. Burns spearheaded the largest acquisition in Xerox history, the $6.4 billion purchase of Affiliated Computer Services.

In 2016, Ms. Burns led Xerox through a successful separation into two independent, publicly traded companies – Xerox Corporation, which is comprised of the company’s Document Technology and Document Outsourcing businesses, and Conduent Incorporated, a business process services company.

After her retirement from Xerox, Ms. Burns was appointed as Chairman of VEON, Ltd. in 2017. Ms. Burns became Chairman and CEO in December 2018 until June 2020. During her tenure at VEON, Ms. Burns successfully steered the company through various compliance and restructuring changes.

Ms. Burns is a member of the Exxon Mobil, Uber Technologies, Inc., and Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. Board of Directors. She is also a founding partner of Integrum Holdings, a private equity firm, Non-Executive Chairman of Teneo Holdings LLC, and the Executive Chairman of Plum Acquisition Corp I. In addition, Ms. Burns is on several private company boards, including Waystar, IHS Towers, and while also providing leadership counsel to several other community, educational and non-profit organizations including the Ford Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Corporation, Cornell Tech Board of Overseers, the New York City Ballet, and the Mayo Clinic, amongst others.

Ms. Burns holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University. Ms. Burns is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Royal Academy of Engineering and the G7 Gender Equity Advisory Council.

About the Speakers:

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” is the network’s leading voice on U.S. foreign policy and international diplomacy. Additionally, Ms. Mitchell reports on intelligence and national security issues across all NBC News and MSNBC properties.

A pioneer in her field, Ms. Mitchell is known for her tenacity and veteran analysis as she pursues answers, interviews newsmakers, and traverses the globe to report on the State Department.

Ms. Mitchell has been honored for her distinguished reporting, receiving the lifetime achievement award at the 40th annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards, the Los Angeles Press Club’s Joseph M. Quinn Lifetime Achievement Award, The International Radio and Television Society Foundation’s Giant of Broadcasting and Electronic Arts Honor and the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

A native of New York, Ms. Mitchell received a B.A. degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania where she is a past vice chair of the Board of Trustees and currently serves as chair of the Board of Overseers of the School of Arts and Sciences. She is also a member of the Gridiron Club. Ms. Mitchell is married to former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan and resides in Washington, D.C.

Darren Walker is President of the Ford Foundation, a $16 billion international social justice philanthropy. He is a member of the Reimagining New York Commission and co-chair of NYC Census 2020. He chaired the philanthropy committee that brought a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy. Under his leadership, the Ford Foundation became the first non-profit in US history to issue a $1 billion designated social bond in US capital markets for proceeds to strengthen and stabilize non-profit organizations in the wake of COVID-19.

Before joining Ford, Mr. Walker was Vice President at Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs. In the 1990s, he was COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Harlem’s largest community development organization.

Mr. Walker co-chairs New York City’s Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and has served on the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and the UN International Labour Organization Global Commission on the Future of Work. He co-founded both the US Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy and is a founding member of the Board Diversity Action Alliance. He serves on many boards, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery of Art, Carnegie Hall, the High Line, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and is the recipient of 16 honorary degrees and university awards, including Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal.

Educated exclusively in public schools, Mr. Walker was a member of the first Head Start class in 1965 and received BA, BS, and JD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been included on numerous leadership lists: Time’s annual 100 Most Influential People, Rolling Stone’s 25 People Shaping the Future, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Ebony’s Power 100, and Out magazine’s Power 50. Most recently, Mr. Walker was named Wall Street Journal’s 2020 Philanthropy Innovator.

Event information
Mon Jan 24, 2022