Hewlett Foundation appoints astrophysicist Amber Miller as new president 


Shafi Musaddique


The Hewlett Foundation has named Amber Miller as its next president, in what is a break from tradition with a scientist and woman to be appointed in the role for the first time since its establishment in 1966. 

She succeeds Larry Kramer, who stepped down last summer. Elizabeth Peters, the foundation’s general counsel and corporate secretary, has held the president position on an interim basis while the $13 billion charitable institution conducted a year-long search for a permanent president.  

Miller is widely known for bringing science and policy together, addressing climate change and multidisciplinary partnerships with clean energy. 

She currently serves as dean of the University of Southern California (USC) Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the largest faculty at the university, managing a multidisciplinary institution with nearly 2,000 faculty and staff and programmes.  

Amber Miller, Hewlett’s new president. Photo by John Livzey, courtesy of Hewlett Foundation.

Miller helped launch the Public Exchange programme, which brought academic experts into partnerships with civic and business leaders to tackle climate and global health challenges. 

Her scientific research involves using observations of light emitted when the universe was only 380,000 years old to study the origin of the universe and the fundamental fabric of spacetime. 

The scientist is also credited with pioneering traineeships for boosting women and minority groups into leadership positions.  

‘Amber Miller is a creative, seasoned leader with a profound commitment to the foundation’s core goals of strengthening our democracy, protecting our environment, and improving people’s lives,” said Hewlett Foundation board chair Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar.   

‘At a time when the world faces so many critical challenges that depend on bridging divides and advancing human knowledge, she will build on the foundation’s long tradition of bringing intellectual rigor to our mission and the sector while adding the insights of a cutting-edge scientist.’ 

Miller will step down from her role at USC on June 15.  

The Hewlett Foundation is notable for its role in racial justice and climate justice. In 2020, it put $50 million towards the Economy and Society Initiative, a programme aimed at developing and rethinking a new paradigm to replace capitalism and neoliberalism.

In March this year, a new reproductive equity strategy was released by the foundation, aimed at meeting immediate needs for abortion care and contraception – particularly for marginalised groups.

It came two months before philanthropy powerhouse Melinda Gates announced her plan to pour $1 billion into reproductive rights in the US.

Shafi Musaddique is the news editor at Alliance Magazine 

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