Campus News

Geoffrey Canada '74 Receives 2004 McGraw Prize in Education

Story posted September 29, 2004

Geoffrey Canada '74, President and CEO of Harlem Children's Zone, Inc. in New York City, is one of four remarkable educators to receive the 2004 McGraw Prize in Education. The prizes were awarded Tuesday, September 28, at a dinner at the New York Public Library. Others being celebrated for their indefatigable efforts to help at risk youth were Robert Moses, Founder and President, The Algebra Project; Janet Lieberman, Co-Founder, The Middle College High School; and Cecilia Cunningham, Director, The Middle College National Consortium.

These four educators, all of whom have dedicated themselves to closing the achievement gap, have worked tirelessly and creatively to give children with few advantages the opportunity to achieve, both academically and ultimately professionally.

"Earlier this year we recognized the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. Now we honor those who have made the dream behind this landmark Supreme Court decision a reality," said Harold McGraw III, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of The McGraw-Hill Companies. "Geoffrey Canada, Cecilia Cunningham, Janet Lieberman and Robert Moses have dedicated their lives to providing innovative educational opportunities for youth struggling with more traditional approaches and have helped thousands of children succeed."

Geoffrey Canada has dedicated his life to helping disadvantaged children who grew up in conditions similar to those he and his family faced in the South Bronx. In 1990, Canada became President and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, Inc. (then Rheedlen), where he works to help the members of the community secure both educational and economic opportunities. His newest initiative is the Harlem Children's Zone Project, which provides education and social services to children and their families in a 60-block area in Central Harlem.

He is a tireless advocate for children in need and enjoys a national reputation for his work to counter violence, redevelop communities and provide assistance to children and families. Other prominent efforts of Canada's include the Harlem Children Zone's Beacon School, Harlem Peacemakers Program, and Community Pride Initiative. The Beacon School programs, for example, provide support 12 hours a day, 365 days a year to children and families in Central Harlem.

In 1983, Canada founded the Chang Moo Kwan Martial Arts School. As the school's Chief Instructor, Canada - a Third Degree Black Belt - teaches the principles of Tae Kwon Do to community youth along with antiviolence and conflict resolution techniques. Now in its 13th year, the Chang Moo Kwan Martial Arts School is a nationally recognized model for violence prevention efforts.

Canada graduated from Bowdoin in 1974, majoring in sociology and psychology, and earned a Master's Degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is also an acclaimed author of two books: Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America and Reaching Up for Manhood.

Canada received several college and university honorary doctorate degrees and other honors, including the Robin Hood Foundation's Heroes of the Year Award, the Spirit of the City Award from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York University's Brennan Legacy Award and Bowdoin College's Common Good Award.

The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education annually recognizes outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving education in this country and whose accomplishments are making a difference today. Honorees are chosen by a distinguished panel of judges made up of thoughtful and influential members of the education community. Each winner receives a gift of $25,000 and a bronze sculpture. The Prize was established in 1988 to honor Mr. McGraw's lifelong commitment to education, and to mark the Corporation's 100th anniversary.

Past honorees include: former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley; the current U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige; the Honorable James B. Hunt Jr., former Governor of North Carolina; James P. Comer, M.D., Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale University Child Study Center; Yvonne Chan, Ed.D., Principal, Vaughn Next Century Learning Center; Mary E. Diaz, Ph.D., Dean of Education, Alverno College; Carl Cohn, former Superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District; Barbara Bush, founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy; and Dennis Littky, Co-Director of The Met, and Director of the Principal Residency Network. In 2003, the honorees were Mark Edwards, Superintendent, Henrico County Public Schools, VA; Kati Haycock, Director, The Education Trust; and Carol Twigg, Executive Director, Center for Academic Transformation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, BusinessWeek and McGraw-Hill Education. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2003 were $4.8 billion. Additional information is available at

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