The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U) has announced that Frederick M. Lawrence, secretary/CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, will receive the 9th annual Ernest L. Boyer Award.

The award pays tribute to Boyer’s legacy by honoring others who are making significant contributions to American higher education. 

“As a noted scholar and advocate of civil rights and free expression, Frederick Lawrence has worked arduously to advance our understanding of constitutional law in the context of colleges and universities,” said Nancy Hensel, NAC&U president. “His efforts have guided institutions in their quest to model the citizenship that our country needs to ensure an inclusive, just society.”

NAC&U will present the award at the AAC&U Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 24, 2019, in Atlanta. Following the award presentation, Lawrence will deliver the 2019 Boyer Lecture, titled “To Whom Does the University Belong?: the Complex Foundations of Higher Education Institutions.” 

“It is a great honor to receive the 2019 Boyer Award. Ernest Boyer understood well the crucial role that a liberal arts and sciences education plays in preparing students for meaningful, productive and engaged lives,” said Lawrence. 

About Frederick M. Lawrence

Frederick M. Lawrence, 10th Secretary/CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, is a Distinguished Lecturer at the Georgetown Law Center, and has previously served as president of Brandeis University, Dean of the George Washington University Law School, and Visiting Professor and Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018 and the American Law Institute in 1999.

An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, Lawrence is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression and bias crimes.  Lawrence has published widely and lectured internationally. He is the author of Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law (Harvard University Press 1999), examining bias-motivated violence and the laws governing how such violence is punished in the United States. He is an opinion contributor to The Hill and US News, frequently contributes op-eds to various other news sources, such as Newsweek, the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Observer, the NY Daily News and The Huffington Post, and has appeared on CNN among other networks. 

Lawrence has testified before Congress concerning free expression on campus and on federal hate crime legislation, was the keynote speaker at the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on bias-motivated violence, was a Senior Research Fellow at University College London, and the recipient of a Ford Foundation grant to study bias-motivated violence in the United Kingdom. Lawrence is a trustee of Beyond Conflict, serves on the Board of Directors of the National Humanities Alliance, the Editorial Board of the Journal of College and University Law, the National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League and the Advisory Board of RANE (Risk Assistance Network + Exchange) and has been a Trustee of Williams College and WGBH. 

Lawrence’s legal career was distinguished by service as an assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York in the 1980s, where he became chief of the Civil Rights Unit. Lawrence received a bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Williams College magna cum laude where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a law degree in 1980 from Yale Law School where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. 

About the Ernest L. Boyer Award

The Ernest L. Boyer Award honors the impact that Ernest Boyer had on NAC&U and higher education. Ernest L. Boyer’s influence on how we understand undergraduate education—as teachers, scholars, and learners —gave rise to NAC&U when like-minded private, comprehensive colleges, grounded in the liberal arts tradition, came together to define their distinctive mission and contribution to higher education in the early 1990s. Boyer spoke of the New American College as “integrative institutions”—ones that intentionally draw connections across the disciplines, between general education and the major, between faculty and students, between the classroom and campus life, between traditional education and the life-long learning, and between the campus and the larger world. Previous recipients of the Ernest L. Boyer Award include Jose Antonio Bowen, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Cathy Davidson, Ira Harkavy, Edward Ayers, Carol Geary Schneider, Betsy Barefoot and John Gardner, and Helen and Sandy Astin.