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37th Annual Awards Program

January 24, 2022  • Institute Staff

37th Annual Awards Program

Thank you for joining us for the Aspen Institute’s 37th Annual Awards Program.

The Aspen Institute is delighted to share this special virtual program. We are proud to present the Henry Crown Leadership Award to physician and geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, and the Corporate Leadership Award to former CEO and Chairwoman of Xerox Corp. and VEON Ltd. Ursula M. Burns. The program will feature our honorees in thoughtful conversations with Andrea Mitchell of NBC News and Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.


View the full conversations with our honorees by following the links below:

Dr. Francis S. Collins with Andrea Mitchell

Ursula M. Burns with Darren Walker



by Daniel R. Porterfield

Presentation of the Henry Crown Leadership Award

by William E. Mayer

Dr. Francis S. Collins

In Conversation with Andrea Mitchell

Presentation of the Corporate Leadership Award

by James S. Crown

Ursula M. Burns

In Conversation with Darren Walker

Closing Remarks

by Daniel R. Porterfield

The Aspen Institute would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Annual Awards Program supporters: *

Judy and Leonard Lauder

Carrie Walton Penner and Greg Penner


Jacklyn G. and Miguel A. Bezos

The Crown Family

Margot and Thomas Pritzker Family Foundation

Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund

Chairman’s Circle

Bonnie and Kenneth L. Davis

Melony and Adam J. Lewis


Mercedes T. Bass

Katherine and David G. Bradley

Jane and Marc Nathanson


Sharon and Lawrence D. Hite

Jessie and David Woolley-Wilson


Luis Gerardo Del Valle Torres

Mark Mason

Award Recipients and Moderators:

Henry Crown Leadership Award

This award honors an outstanding leader whose achievements reflect the high standard of honor, integrity, industry, and philanthropy that characterized the life of Henry Crown. The award is presented by Trustees of the Henry and Gladys Crown Charitable Trust Fund in cooperation with the Henry Crown Fellowship Program of the Aspen Institute.

Dr. Francis S. Collins

Director of the National Institutes of Health, 2009-2021

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 oversaw 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.

Corporate Leadership Award

This award is presented to an individual whose exemplary leadership and dedication to the betterment of society exemplifies those values and traditions fostered by the Aspen Institute in all its endeavors. The recipient of this award has exhibited vision and a commitment to the public good and has practiced highly principled leadership. Representing the highest standards of corporate citizenship, this individual has helped to redefine the private sector in the 21st century.

Ursula M. Burns

Founding Partner, Integrum Holdings and Former CEO and Chairwoman of Xerox Corp and VEON, Ltd

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.


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.

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.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Aspen Institute is nonpartisan and does not endorse, support, or oppose political candidates or parties. Further, the views and opinions of our guests and speakers do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.