New York, NY (February 7, 2018)— Award-winning and best-selling poet and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets Elizabeth Alexander has been elected the next President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation by the foundation’s Trustees, effective March 2018.

“The Mellon Foundation is dedicated to the enrichment of the arts and humanities, both inside and outside of colleges and universities; these practice areas are fundamental to strengthening not only our learning institutions, but also the human spirit,” said Danielle Allen, Chair of the Mellon Foundation Board. “Through her work as a professor and mentor, Elizabeth knows the academic system well, and as an architect of interdisciplinary programs, she has deep experience in cultivating partnerships that extend and amplify creative vision."

"Elizabeth Alexander is one of our nation's preeminent poets and she is a history maker. She is one of only five poets in history to read at a Presidential Inauguration and one of few writers to be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in two different categories. She is also a visionary leader in philanthropy and the art of poetry in our country, growing and guiding national poetry organizations including Cave Canem, the Academy of American Poets, and the Poetry Coalition, a new alliance of 21 poetry organizations in 11 cities across the United States. Her encouragement of partnerships and belief that art can help address important social issues and encourage empathy has helped shape poetry today. We're honored to have her as a Chancellor of our organization and look forward to the lasting impact she will have as President of the Mellon Foundation," said Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets.

The Mellon Foundation, the nation’s most generous and active supporter of the humanities, is committed to five core program areas: higher education and scholarship in the humanities; arts and cultural heritage; diversity; scholarly communications; and international higher education and strategic projects. According to the foundation, "In her new role, Alexander will lead the Mellon Foundation in drawing new partners into support for the arts and humanities and in refining the Foundation’s distinctive blend of a commitment to the arts and humanities for social purposes and for their own sake."

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