Clark Kerr Award

In 1968, the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate created the Clark Kerr Award as a tribute to the leadership and legacy of UC President Emeritus Kerr.

The Clark Kerr Award recognizes those who have made extraordinary and distinguished contributions to the advancement of higher education. Past recipients have come from inside and outside the Berkeley community, including former California Governor and Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, Lee Bollinger, Yuan T. Lee, and past Chancellors Ira Michael Heyman, Chang-Lin Tien, and Robert Berdahl. 

Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Eduardo J. Padron, President Emeritus of Miami Dade College, are recognized this year for their contributions to higher education and for having led transformational change at their respective institutions.

Shirley Ann Jackson and Eduardo J. Padron are the recipients of the 2021 Clark Kerr Award.

photo of Shirley Jackson

The 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1999--), Shirley Ann Jackson received her B.S. (1968), PhD. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics (1973) from MIT and is a life member of the MIT Board of Trustees. She was professor of physics, Rutgers University (1991-95). Served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) (2009-2014). She has achieved a number of firsts in her career, as the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate from MIT in any subject, to become commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and to lead a national research university. She is also both the first woman and the first African-American to serve as chair of the NRC.

Dr. Jackson was inducted into The National Women's Hall of Fame in 1998 for her significant and profound contributions as a distinguished scientist and advocate for education, science, and public policy. She is a fellow and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and past chair of its board of directors. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and international fellow of the British Royal Academy of Engineering. Vice chair of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents and trustee of the Brookings Institution. Inducted into the U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame (2014) and Tech Valley Business Hall of Fame (2014). She has received 53 honorary doctoral degrees, the 2007 Vannevar Bush Award, the AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Award (2011) for “extraordinary leadership of and contributions to the scientific community, government, universities, industries, and future generations of science and engineering professionals.” Among her many other recognitions are the 2000 Golden Torch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Academia from the National Society of Black Engineers, and induction into the Women in Technology International Foundation Hall of Fame. She is a 2014 recipient of the National Medal of Science in Physical Sciences.

photo of Eduardo Padron

From 1995 until 2019, Eduardo Padron served as President of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest degree granting institution of higher education in America. He is credited with elevating MDC into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. He is the past chair of the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE) and is a past chair of the board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and former chair of the Business Higher Education Forum (BHEF). During his career, he has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by five American presidents.

The Republic of France named him Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques; the Republic of Argentina awarded him the Order of San Martin; Spain’s King Juan Carlos II bestowed upon him the Order of Queen Isabella; Spain’s Prince and Princess of Asturias, Felipe and Letizia presented him with the Juan Ponce de Leon 500th Anniversary award; Morocco's King Mohammed VI appointed him Honorary Consul in Florida of the Kingdom of Morocco in 2016, and the Amicus Poloniae from the Republic of Poland.

He is credited with engineering a culture of success at Miami Dade College that has produced impressive results in student access, retention, graduation, and overall achievement. MDC enrolls and graduates more minorities than any other institution in the United States, including the largest numbers of Hispanics and African-Americans. Under Eduardo’s leadership, Miami Dade College has received national recognition for its longstanding involvement with its urban community, its catalytic effect for social and economic change, and the marked difference the College has made in student access and success through pace-setting initiatives.

He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In 2018, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of America's oldest and most prestigious organizations. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., for being a prominent national voice for access and inclusion in higher education. In 2009, TIME magazine included him on the list of “The 10 Best College Presidents.” In 2010, Florida Trend magazine placed him on the cover of its inaugural “Floridian of the Year” issue. In 2011, The Washington Post named him one of the eight most influential college presidents in the U.S. Also in 2011, he was awarded the prestigious 2011 Carnegie Corporation Centennial Academic Leadership Award. In 2012, he received the Citizen Service Award from Voices for National Service, the coveted TIAA Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, and the Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship. In 2015, he was inducted into the U.S. News & World Report STEM Hall of Fame.