Judith Rodin, Ph.D.

President, The Rockefeller Foundation 2005 – present
President Emerita, University of Pennsylvania

The 2016 IQLA Laureate is Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation (, a position she has held since March 2005. She was previously president of the University of Pennsylvania and the provost of Yale University.

The first women to lead the Foundation in its 102-year history, Dr. Rodin has recalibrated the institution’s focus areas and goals to create and scale innovative solutions to 21st century problems in an era marked by unprecedented disruption, volatility, and complexity. The Rockefeller Foundation today supports work that promotes more inclusive economies and strengthens resilience to social, economic and physical challenges—affirming its pioneering philanthropic mission since 1913 to promote the well-being of humanity.

Under her leadership, the Foundation has invested more than a half-billion in investments in helping communities of all kinds build resilience, including post-disaster New Orleans and New York City, small-holder farming communities in Africa, rapidly-growing Asian cities, and eventually 100 cities around the world through the 100 Resilient Cities Network. To promote more inclusive economies, the Foundation has contributed to developing infrastructure to accelerate the field of impact investing and social impact bonds, and continues to focus on addressing youth unemployment in underserved populations, mitigating energy poverty, and working across the agriculture value chain to help catalyze a Green Revolution in Africa. As a result of her vision, in 2015 Fast Company named The Rockefeller Foundation one of the top ten innovative non-profits in the world.

An internationally recognized leader in academia, science, and global development, Dr. Rodin is an a sought-after participant at influential global forums, including the World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, and United Nations General Assembly. In 2014, she was a co-chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. Dr. Rodin was also a member of the African Development Bank’s High Level Panel, and is a board member of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (co-created by The Rockefeller Foundation). When Dr. Rodin was named president of the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, she was the first woman named to lead an Ivy League institution, and the first Penn graduate to serve as its president. At Penn, Dr. Rodin presided over an unprecedented decade of growth and progress that transformed the institution, its campus, and the community, while taking the university from sixteenth to fourth in U.S. News and World Report national rankings. Under her leadership, Penn doubled its research funding, tripled both its annual fundraising and the size of its endowment, and attracted record numbers of undergraduate applicants, including its most selective classes in history. The University also engineered a comprehensive, internationally acclaimed neighborhood revitalization program in West Philadelphia.

A pioneer of the behavioral medicine health psychology movements, Dr. Rodin was trained as a research psychologist. After completing her Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1970, she joined the faculty of New York University as an assistant professor of psychology. She moved to Yale in 1972, launching a 22-year career at the University. She was promoted to associate professor in 1975, named a full professor of psychology in 1979, and added the title of professor of medicine and psychiatry, under the School of Medicine, in 1985. Prior to her appointment as Yale’s provost in 1992, she served two years as chair of the department of psychology and one year as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

At Yale, Dr. Rodin earned an international reputation as both a pioneer of the women’s health movement and as one of the early psychologists to master both the biological and psychological factors that lead to obesity. From 1983 to 1993, she chaired an international research network studying health-promoting and health-damaging behavior for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Dr. Rodin’s research also contributed to the understanding of aging by demonstrating that elderly people who are given control over their environment are more active, healthier, and live longer than those who are consigned to helplessness.

In recognition of her scientific achievements, Dr. Rodin served on President Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology and is a member of several leading academic societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

She has authored of more than 250 academic articles and chapters, and has written or co-written 15 books, including her two most recent, The Power of Impact Investing: Putting Markets to Work for Profit and Global Good (Wharton Digital Press, 2014) and The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong (Public Affairs 2014). Dr. Rodin has also been featured in numerous publications and books over her career, including Tom Brokaw’s volume, Boom! Voices of the Sixties: Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today (Random House, 2007).

Dr. Rodin has been the recipient of 19 honorary doctorate degrees and numerous additional honors. In 2004, she received both the prestigious Philadelphia Award and the William Penn Award for her “commitment to elevating the economy of West Philadelphia and the quality of life for its residents; for her leadership roles in galvanizing Philadelphia's higher education institutions in order to keep the region's brightest graduates there; and for promoting the region as a high-tech business location.” In 2006, she was awarded the Pennsylvania Society’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement, which is bestowed upon “a prominent person in recognition of leadership, citizenship and contributions to the arts, science, education and industry,” making her the first person to receive all three of these major Pennsylvania honors.

Dr. Rodin has been named to Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women list three years in a row, as well as the National Association of Corporate Directors' (NACD's) 2011 Directorship 100, in recognition of her work promoting the highest standards of corporate governance.

IQLA Prior Laureates