Sylvia Mathews Burwell

President, American University

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is president of American University. She is the fifteenth to hold the position and the first woman. Secretary Burwell served as the twenty-second U.S. secretary of health and human services from 2014 until the conclusion of President Barack Obama’s second term. Before that, she was the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Her prior positions in government include deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, deputy chief of staff to the president, chief of staff to the secretary of the treasury, and special assistant to the director of the National Economic Council.

Secretary Burwell also served as president of the Walmart Foundation and ran their Women’s Economic Empowerment efforts. Earlier, she spent eleven years at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, including as the chief operating officer and president of global development.

Secretary Burwell earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.