Campus Life

Inspiring Creativity And Bold Solutions

Cecilia Conrad, managing director at the MacArthur Foundation, will present the keynote address at Texas A&M University’s Inaugural President’s Excellence Fund Symposium on April 4.
By Texas A&M University Research Communications and Public Relations March 18, 2019

Cecilia Conrad, managing director at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, will deliver the keynote address for the first President’s Excellence Fund Symposium on Thursday, April 4, in the Frymire Auditorium at the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Presidential Conference Center at Texas A&M University.

One of the largest independent foundations in the United States, the MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions and influential works in taking on some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as over-incarceration, global climate change and nuclear risks.

Titled “Inspiring Creativity and Bold Solutions,” Conrad’s address will draw from her experiences promoting individual creativity as well as diverse teams to tackle global challenges.

Conrad leads the MacArthur Fellows Program; the MacArthur Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions; 100&Change, the foundation’s competition for a single $100 million grant to help solve a critical problem of our time; and is chief executive officer for Lever for Change, a nonprofit affiliate of the MacArthur Foundation whose mission is to unlock philanthropic capital and accelerate social change around the world’s biggest social challenges.

Before joining the foundation in January 2013, Conrad had a distinguished 17-year career as both a professor and an administrator at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. As a member of the faculty, Conrad contributed to the curriculum of several interdisciplinary programs. In 2002, she was recognized as California’s Carnegie Professor of the Year, a prestigious national award that recognizes faculty members for their achievement as undergraduate professors. Prior to joining the faculty at Pomona College, Conrad served on the faculties of Barnard College and Duke University. She was also an economist at the Federal Trade Commission and a visiting scholar at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Conrad’s academic research focuses on the effects of race and gender on economic status. Her work has appeared in both academic journals and nonacademic publications including The American Prospect and Black Enterprise.

Vice President for Research Mark A. Barteau said, “Dr. Conrad brings an invaluable perspective about how game-changing investments like Texas A&M’s President’s Excellence Fund and the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change program can transform the landscape for multidisciplinary scholarship and its translation to create societal impact. We are delighted to welcome her to Texas A&M to celebrate the successful first year of the President’s Excellence Fund—and to inspire our future ambitions.”

The President’s Excellence Fund is a 10-year, $100 million dollar program designed to support faculty and build upon Texas A&M’s commitment to the three pillars of advancing transformational learning; enhancing discovery and innovation; and expanding impact on our community, state, nation, and world.

The inaugural symposium will provide a forum for Texas A&M faculty-researchers to present updates on projects that received support during the first year of the President’s Excellence Fund through its X-Grants program and its T3: Texas A&M Triads for Transformation program.

T3 Round 1 recipients will present their project updates during a poster session at noon in Room 1011 B and C of the conference center. The eight teams that received X-Grant funding during the program’s first round will make 20-minute presentations in the Frymire Auditorium, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world’s leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $922 million in fiscal year 2018. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey (2017), based on expenditures of more than $905.4 million in fiscal year 2017. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit

Media contact: Rusty Cawley, assistant director, Research Communications and Public Relations, (979) 458-1475,


Editor’s note: This post was updated March 28.

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