About Larraine Matusak

Larraine Matusak passed away on March 26, 2021 leaving an outstanding leadership legacy in higher education and philanthropy that has profoundly impacted people’s lives around the world. Larraine served in academic leadership roles from 1971 through 1982, including being only the second president of the Thomas A. Edison State College in Trenton, NJ from 1979-1982.

In 1982 she became a Program Officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where she directed the Kellogg National Fellowship Program and founded the Kellogg Leadership Scholars Program (KLSP). Larraine retired from the Kellogg Foundation in 1996 and authored her book “Finding your Voice” in 1997. She has been awarded too many Honorary Degrees and Leadership Awards to list – a truly amazing contribution to leadership around the world.

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The Larraine R. Matusak Courageous Leadership Award

The Courageous Leadership Award was created in 2007 and is given biannually to recognize bold and courageous leadership in the face of social difficulty and injustice. In the words of Dr. Matusak . . . 

The purpose of this award is to recognize and reward those individuals who boldly take a risk to stand up for what is right and just; who work for the common good; who are willing to take an unpopular stand even if doing so may jeopardize their jobs, cast them in an unpopular light or even cause them to lose friends. They are willing to act authentically and speak up when silence would mean colluding with the problem, and they boldly take actions that tangibly improve the human condition.

Courageous Leadership is defined as the ability and passion to attain positive results by encouraging others and by working with and through others to achieve a common good. True leaders are courageous people. They are not afraid to take a risk and they don’t waste much time worrying about what other people might think of them; they are more concerned about doing what is right and effective. They make every attempt to weave a shared vision, to align others toward a goal, and then with enthusiasm, energy, and commitment they are willing to walk near the edge and even do things that raise the eyebrows of those around them in order to achieve a positive goal that effects the common good…. to do what is right! Their risk taking is creative, reinforced by sound judgment, common sense and a profound sense of responsibility, honesty and truth.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must look fear in the face and do the thing you think you cannot do.” This Courageous Leadership Award is a call to courage that requires a belief in something much larger than the individual; the type of courage fueled by a passion for the common good and a commitment to principles greater than self-interest; the kind of courage that once exhibited galvanizes others.

About the 2021 Courageous Leadership Award

The 2021 Courageous Leadership Award is sponsored and presented by The Alliance of Leadership Fellows (ALF) and will be awarded in conjunction with the International Leadership Association (ILA) annual meeting in Geneva, Switzerland in October. ILA was also founded by Larraine.

Nomination information and an electronic form can be found here. Initial nominations will be received July 1 through 31, 2021, with final review, selection and notification by September 1. Three finalist will be interviewed by the selection committee and the final recipient will receive a recognition plaque and a monetary award of three thousand dollars ($3000).

Please consider nominating a courageous leader for the Larraine Matusak 2021 Courageous Leadership Award.

Past Courageous Leadership Award Recipients

2018 — Santiago Velázquez Duarte, Vida Independiente México
Nominated by
Susan Sygall (KNFP-07), Mobility International USA
2016 — Gail Small (KNFP-13), Lame Deer, MT
Nominated by Kevin, Fong (KNFP-14)
2014 — Pablo Alvarado, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Los Angeles, CA
Nominated by
Kent Wong (KNFP-10)
2012 — Nancy Guarneros,
Nominated by Kent Wong (KNFP-10)
2011 — Susan Sygall, (KNFP-07) Mobility International USA
Nominated by KNFP Group 7