2001 – William G. Bowen and Derek Bok

The unprecedented study by Bowen, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Bok, former president of Harvard University, has earned the 2001 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education. The $200,000 award is one of the largest in the field of education. Bowen has directed that his share of the award be given to Morehouse college in honor of Henry Drewry, and Bok is directing his share of the award to an unnamed charitable cause.

The authors studied the academic, employment and life histories of more than 90,000 students who attended 28 academically selective colleges and universities throughout the country. They then systematically addressed many of the issues raised by critics of race-sensitive policies, looking at each supposition and analyzing the data to determine its validity.

Bowen and Bok tackled issues such as drop-out rates and demoralization of minority students attending institutions under selective admissions guidelines, the effect selective admissions has on diversity and racial tension, and alternatives to race-sensitive admissions.

“Bowen and Bok have made an unparalleled contribution to informing the debate regarding race-sensitive admissions policies,” said the Grawemeyer selection committee. “In an area in which discussions often get bogged down in a wind tunnel of rhetoric, this work represents a guiding light.”

About the winners

A renowned economist, educator and leader, William G. Bowen is president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Bowen received his bachelor’s degree in 1955 from Denison University and his Ph.D. in 1958 from Princeton University. A member of the Princeton University faculty for 30 years, Bowen also served that university as provost before serving as president from 1972 to 1988.

Bowen left Princeton to assume the presidency of the Mellon Foundation. The not-for-profit foundation awards grants on a selective basis to institutions of higher education and organizations dealing with cultural affairs and the performing arts, population, conservation and the environment, and public affairs.

Bowen has published numerous books, including “The Charitable Nonprofits: An Analysis of Institutional Dynamics and Characteristics” with Thomas I. Nygren, Sarah E. Turner and Elizabeth Duffy; and articles including “Ever the Teacher” and “Performing Arts: The Economic Dilemma” (with William J. Baumol). His latest book, “The Game of Life: College Sports and Education Values” (with James Shulman) will be published in January 2001.

He also is active on several boards, including those of American Express, Merck & Co., JSTOR and TIAA-CREF. In addition, Bowen is a member of the American Economic Association, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Industrial Relations Research Association.

One of the nation’s most respected educators, Derek Bok served as president of Harvard University from 1971 to 1991. He currently is the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard. Bok also has been a lawyer as well as a professor and dean at the Harvard Law School.

A 1951 graduate of Stanford University, he earned his J.D. from the Harvard Law School in 1954 and his A.M. in economics from George Washington University in 1958. He also served as a Fulbgright Scholar at the University of Paris Institute of Political Science in 1954-55.

Bok has written four books on higher education, including “Beyond the Ivory Tower,” “Higher Learning” and “Universities and the Future of America.” He serves on the boards of overseers for the Curtis Institute of Music, The World Resources Institute and Common Cause.

Bok’s current research interests include the state of higher education and a project sponsored by several foundations on the adequacy of the U.S. government in coping with the nation’s domestic problems. The first of his two books on this subject is “The State of the Nation.” The second book, “The Trouble with Government,” will be published in 2001.