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Howard University President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D., Named to the 2024 Class of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Ben Vinson III, Ph.D.

WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Howard University President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D., was elected to the 2024 Class of the Academy of Arts & Sciences (Academy), joining a distinguished list of 250 international leaders across 31 areas of expertise organized within five divisions – Mathematical and Physical Sciences; Biological Sciences; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Humanities and Arts; and Leadership, Policy, and Communications.  

Other members of the 2024 class include New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie; actor and producer George Clooney; Duke University history professor Thavolia Glymph; author Jhumpa Lahiri; cancer researcher David A. Tuveson; and Olympian and philanthropist Grant Hill.  

President Vinson now joins a distinguished list of Howard University faculty members and alumni elected to the Academy, including Nikole Hannah-Jones; Sonya T. Smith, Ph.D.; Renee Jenkins, MD; James Mitchell, Ph.D.; James Momoh; Sherilynn Ifill, J.D.; and Ta-Nehisi Coates. 

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this recognition from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, an organization that has a long history of celebrating and cultivating the power and importance of education and the pursuit of knowledge for the betterment of society,” said President Vinson. “I look forward to engaging with such an esteemed group of thought leaders and visionaries in advancing scholarship that addresses some of the most complex issues facing our nation.” 

 A renowned historian of the African diaspora with a focus on Latin America, President Vinson became the 18th president of Howard University in September 2023. The recipient of the 2019 Howard F. Cline Book Prize in Mexican History for his book, “Before Mestizaje: The Frontiers of Race and Caste in Colonial Mexico,” he is a member of the Academy of Arts and Science’s Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, and currently co-chairs its subcommittee on higher education. He was elected to the American Antiquarian Society in 2024 and is the current President-Elect of the American Historical Association.  He is Past President of the Conference on Latin American History (CLAH). 

A summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, President Vinson earned his bachelor’s degree in history and classical studies. He also earned a doctorate in Latin American history with distinction from Columbia University. He has been awarded fellowships from the Fulbright Commission; National Humanities Center; Social Science Research Council; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the Ford, Rockefeller, and Mellon foundations.    

Founded in 1780 by a group of Revolutionary War leaders including John Adams and John Hancock, the Academy’s membership and work have evolved over the last two centuries, yet remained true to the organization’s original mission of “celebrating the life of the mind, the importance of knowledge, and the belief that the arts and sciences are necessary to the interest, honor, dignity and happiness of a free, independent and virtuous people.” 

In a statement released by the Academy, its president David Oxtoby praised the newest class, which joins the ranks of past inductees such as Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Albert Einstein (1924), Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966), Madeleine Albright (2001), John Legend (2017) and Anna Deavere Smith (2019) 

“We honor these artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors for their accomplishments and for the curiosity, creativity, and courage required to reach new heights,” Oxtoby said in the Academy’s press release announcing the new class. “We invite these exceptional individuals to join in the Academy’s work to address serious challenges and advance the common good.” 

President Vinson and other newly elected members will participate in the formal induction ceremony on Saturday, September 21, 2024, in Cambridge, MA, where the Academy’s headquarters are located.  

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