Hugh B. Price

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Nonresident Senior Fellow, Economic Studies

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Hugh B. Price is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, the nation’s oldest think tank.  His interests include education, equal opportunity, civil rights, and urban affairs.  From 2008 until 2013, he was the John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. 

Mr. Price served as president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League from July 1994 until April 2003.  Founded in 1910, the National Urban League is the oldest and largest community-based movement empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream.  The League is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization headquartered in New York City, with over 100 affiliates in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

After graduating from Yale Law School in 1966, Mr. Price began his professional career as a legal services lawyer representing low-income clients in New Haven, CT.  During the turbulent late 1960s, he served as the first executive director of the Black Coalition of New Haven.

In 1978, Mr. Price and his family moved to New York City, where he served until 1982 as a member of the editorial board of The New York Times.  He wrote editorials on an array of public policy issues, including public education, welfare, criminal justice, and telecommunications.  He then served for six years as senior vice president of WNET/Thirteen in New York, the nation’s largest public television station.  In 1984, Mr. Price became director of all national production.  Notable series developed or produced for PBS under Mr. Price include Nature, Great Performances, The Mind, American Masters, Dancing, Art of the Western World, Childhood, and Global Rivals.

Mr. Price was appointed vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1988.  He oversaw its domestic investments to improve education for at-risk youth and increase opportunities for people of color.  He was instrumental in conceiving and launching such innovative initiatives as the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Corps, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, and the Coalition of Community Foundations for Youth (now known as Community Foundations Leading Change.)

Taking the helm of the National Urban League in July 1994, Mr. Price led the way in tripling the League’s endowment; restructuring and strengthening its board of directors and staff; defining a new mission and strategic vision for the 21st century; conceiving and launching the League’s historic Campaign for African-American Achievement; establishing the League’s new research and policy center, known as the National Urban League Institute for Opportunity and Equality; reviving Opportunity, the League’s landmark magazine; and establishing its new headquarters on Wall Street in New York City.

Following the National Urban League, Mr. Price served for two years as senior advisor and co-chair of the Non-Profit and Philanthropy Practice Group at the global law firm of DLA Piper.  In 2006-07, he co-chaired the Commission on the Whole Child for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.  

Mr. Price is the author of three books – Mobilizing the Community to Help Students Succeed, Achievement Matters: Getting Your Child The Best Education Possible, and Destination: The American Dream, a compilation of his speeches and position papers published by the National Urban League.  The League has also published collections of his To Be Equal columns.  Brookings published his working paper entitled “Demilitarizing What the Pentagon Knows about Developing Young People: A New Paradigm for Educating Students Who are Struggling in School and in Life.” 

His articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and journals, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Phi Delta Kappan, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Education Week, Chronicle of Higher Education, Educational Leadership, American Legacy, New York Times Sunday Travel Section, and Review of Black Political Economy

In February 2010, the Carl A. Fields Center at Princeton University staged an exhibit entitled “Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Birth of the New South Africa: A Personal Account of Cape Town in 1990.”  The exhibit was based on photographs Mr. Price took and local newspapers he collected during a visit to Cape Town that coincided with the historic speech on February 2, 1990 by South African President F.W. de Klerk freeing Nelson Mandela from prison and proclaiming the end of apartheid.  

Mr. Price’s article published in Washingtonian magazine entitled “Jackie and Me”, about growing up as an ardent baseball fan in the nation’s capital, won first place for magazine sports writing in the 2006 Dateline Awards presented by the Washington (DC) Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  The article was cited as one of the notable essays for 2005 in The Best American Essays 2006

Over the years, Mr. Price has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, including Meet the Press, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, The Charlie Rose Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, Crossfire, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, CBS Evening News, Lead Story, BET Tonight, The Montel Williams Show, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, and many national and local NPR broadcasts.  While at the National Urban League, he distributed a weekly radio commentary and wrote a weekly column, entitled "To Be Equal," for African-American newspapers across the country.

Mr. Price currently chairs the board of the Jacob Burns Film Center.  He was formerly on the boards of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Verizon, Georgetown University, Sears Roebuck, Mayo Clinic, the Committee for Economic Development, the Educational Testing Service, and the Urban Institute.  He was a member of an Advisory Committee established to formulate recommendations for improving the governance of the United States Olympic Committee.   

Mr. Price has received honorary degrees from Yale University, Amherst College, and Indiana University, as well as the Medal of Honor from Yale Law School, the President’s Medal from Hunter College, and honorary degrees from numerous other colleges and universities.  He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an honorary member of the Academy of Political Science.  

Mr. Price and his wife have three grown daughters.