Sylvia Mathews Burwell

President, American University

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is American University’s fifteenth president and first woman president. Secretary Burwell served as the twenty-second secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services from 2014 until the conclusion of President Obama’s second term. Before that, she was the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Her prior government experience includes 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 served eleven years at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, including roles as the chief operating officer and president of global development. After the Gates Foundation, she was the president of the Walmart Foundation and ran their Women’s Economic Empowerment efforts.

Secretary Burwell earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University and a BA in philosophy, policy and economics from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She is based in Washington, DC.