Citation for Susan V. Berresford
Presented by Alison R. Bernstein P’09, Trustee
President Hansen, I am honored to present Susan V. Berresford.
Principled acts of generosity afford limitless ways to enhance the human prospect. Through her astute leadership of one of the world’s preeminent foundations, Susan V. Berresford has nurtured the aspirations of individuals and societies around the world.
Susan Berresford ‘s long career at the Ford Foundation included 12 years as the president of the vast philanthropic institution that grants more than $500 million each year. That one-half billion dollars can affect transformational change is not guaranteed, nor is spending it wisely easy. Rather, such largesse is an immense responsibility that requires an expansive understanding of societies, their needs and their promise, and confidence in the values honed by considering fundamental questions: What do people need to meet their potential? What are the ingredients of a flourishing civil society? How do democracy, justice, equal rights, education and the arts advance humanity? Susan Berresford addressed these complex and challenging questions in defining the values that the Ford Foundation’s programs translate into direct action in service to others.
Ms. Berresford has also been an eloquent voice of conscience within the philanthropic community, calling for the highest ethical standards of practice, institutional accountability and integrity. Above all, she advocates for philanthropic practice that does not patronize, but rather empowers individuals and communities.
For her advancement of the noblest ideals of human activity, for the global reach of her leadership, and for the breadth of her vision for a better world, I present Susan V. Berresford for the degree Doctor of Humane Letters.
Susan Berresford, your life’s work is a testament to the powers of ideas and initiative to support free societies, alleviate poverty, advance knowledge and empower individuals to envision their future. Therefore by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, I hereby confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities which here and everywhere pertain to this degree.