The Board of Directors of the Henry Luce Foundation has named Dr. Mariko Silver as the Foundation’s fourth President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Dr. Michael Gilligan, who last June announced his retirement after 16 years of leadership devoted to the foundation and its mission. She will take office on August 1.
Dr. Silver currently serves as President of Bennington College where she is responsible for all dimensions of life at the college and has become a recognized thought leader for her writings on experiential learning, the future of work, institutional innovation, and diversity in leadership. In her time at Bennington, Silver spearheaded the development of a 10-year strategic plan; forged lasting partnerships with some of the world’s premier arts and cultural institutions; oversaw a revitalization of the campus, including the iconic Commons building; quadrupled commitments to the endowment since 2013; and guided the establishment of the largest capital campaign in the school’s history, raising over $90 million.
“In a dynamic time for organizations in our sector, the Search Committee sought a President and CEO who would serve as a strategic and visionary leader committed to building upon the Foundation’s respected role – for over 80 years – in the practice of mission- and program-focused philanthropy,” said Margaret Boles Fitzgerald, Chair of the Luce Board of Directors. “With Mariko Silver, we found a highly accomplished organizational leader who will continue to strengthen our time-honored practice, inviting public discourse as we promote innovative scholarship, leadership development, and international understanding.”
Dr. Silver previously served in the Obama Administration as Acting Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Policy for the United States Department of Homeland Security. Prior to that, she served as Policy Advisor for Economic Development, Innovation, and Education in the administration of Arizona’s governor Janet Napolitano. During nearly a decade at Arizona State University, Dr. Silver was a lead developer and key strategist in what Newsweek called “one of the most radical redesigns in higher learning since the origins of the modern university.”
She is an expert in institutional transformation, organizational change, and intercultural program development. She has worked with governments, non-profits, and industry leaders in the United States with a particular emphasis on East Asia, India, and North America, as well as across Latin America.
“The Foundation’s programs are seen as field-building through strategies of grant-making, convening, and leadership,” added George Rupp, chair of the Search Committee. “Both Dr. Silver’s research and her time in government and higher education will help further build on Luce’s dedication to the arts in America, to the importance of broadening the range of perspectives that drive STEM research, and to guiding secular and religious leaders as they continue to learn from one another about the obligations and opportunities inherent in building and leading communities of all kinds.”
“It is an honor to build on the extraordinary work that the Foundation is doing every day to promote innovative learning opportunities around the world,” noted Dr. Silver. “At a time when knowledge-sharing across borders, disciplines, and differences has never been more urgent, I am thrilled to join the dedicated staff and Board of the Henry Luce Foundation in their impactful work.”
Dr. Silver is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She served on the 2015 CFR Independent Task Force on the Future of U.S.-India Relations. She sits on the board of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), is a commissioner of the New England Commission on Higher Education (the accrediting body for all higher education in New England), and serves on the Climate Leadership Steering Committee of Second Nature, an organization that works with colleges and universities to help make the principles of sustainability fundamental to every aspect of higher education.
She is a member of the advisory committee for the New England Foundation for the Arts, a board member for the Annapolis Group of Liberal Arts Colleges, a member of the executive committee for the Vermont Association of Independent Colleges, a member of the international advisory board for Sichuan University (Chengdu, China), and is a member of the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone Task Force. She has previously served on the boards of the Humanity in Action Foundation, Planned Parenthood of Arizona, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.
Dr. Silver holds a BA in History from Yale University, an MSc in Science and Technology Policy from the University of Sussex (UK), and a Ph.D. in Economic Geography from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and an honorary Ph.D. from Hofstra University.
“I’m honored to welcome Mariko Silver to the Luce Foundation,” said Michael Gilligan, the current president. “Mariko brings a unique blend of vision, acumen and distinguished achievement in multiple fields, assuring that the Foundation’s committed staff and strong programs of learning and leadership will flourish in the years ahead.”
Established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., the Henry Luce Foundation continues his dedication to public intellectual life and philanthropy through its grantmaking and leadership programs in the fields of Asia, higher education, religion and theology, art, and public policy. Since its creation, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.1 billion of grants.