Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Appoints Poet Elizabeth Alexander as President

Elizabeth Alexander, renowned poet, distinguished speaker at President Obama's 2009 inauguration, and 2016 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has been elected as the next president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s most generous and active supporter of the humanities. Beginning in March, Alexander will become the foundation's first African-American female president, as The New York Times reported.

“I am guided by the justice values of increasing access to the power of higher education to open and strengthen minds, encourage human exchange, and thus transform lives. I am deeply honored to have been selected to lead Mellon, an institution that has been devoted to these areas across its history, and to have been called to the crucial work of building community within and across discipline and institution. The humanities show us deeply who we are and what it means to move through life by the light of cultural vision. I am excited for the work ahead of elevating the truth, beauty and rigor of the arts and higher learning and making them more accessible to all,” said Alexander.

Alexander will succeed Earl Lewis, who has served as president since 2013.

In her new role, Alexander will lead the Mellon Foundation in drawing in new partners to support the arts and humanities and refining the foundation’s commitment to arts and humanities for social purposes and for their own sake. "She expects to build on the foundation’s success to date in supporting diversification of educational, scholarly, and cultural organizations with an innovative focus on cultivating institutional capacity for inclusive leadership; and she seeks to widen and deepen the impact of the foundation’s support for a vision of an inclusive America," announced the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Read the full announcement.

Image courtesy: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation