Distinguished Achievement in Education

Marybeth Gasman '90Marybeth Gasman '90
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Marybeth Gasman’s nominators are nothing if not consistent in their admiration for her work.

One considers the University of Pennsylvania professor among “perhaps the five leading authorities” in her area of expertise; another assesses her as one of the “two or three most productive scholars in the entire field”; a third places her among “the three or four best historians of higher education in the nation.”

Small wonder. Dr. Gasman’s publishing record is exceptional: In a still-young career, she has written or edited more than a dozen books, 37 refereed articles and 27 book chapters. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Education Research Association’s Outstanding Book Award. She is a regular contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other esteemed publications. One nominator refers to her as “a scholar of international consequence” in her field, which encompasses the history of American higher education generally and of historically black institutions specifically. She has also written extensively on philanthropy and fundraising at black colleges and universities.

While scholarship is one measure of a successful educator, excellence in teaching is another. In this respect, too, Dr. Gasman is demonstrably at the top of her field. She has received her university’s Excellence in Teaching Award. She is currently overseeing the dissertation work of an impressive 21 students, and several of her former students have won awards for outstanding dissertations.

Marybeth’s generous sharing of time and talent extends far beyond the campus walls. She is a consultant and adviser to a wide range of organizations doing important work, from the Lumina and Kresge foundations to the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, USA Funds and the Mellon Foundation.

Marveling at her energy, one nominator asked whether she ever turned down a request. As he tells it, she responded, “No … I’ve had many mentors in my life and to each of them I promised to pay it forward.”

For honoring that promise, and for establishing such a high standard of academic excellence, Marybeth Gasman is the recipient of the college’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Education.