Biography & Timeline

Judith Rodin is a pioneer, innovator, change‐maker and global thought‐leader. For more than two decades, Dr. Rodin led and transformed two global institutions: The Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania.

A groundbreaking executive throughout her career, Dr. Rodin was the first woman named to permanently lead an Ivy League Institution and was the first woman to serve as The Rockefeller Foundation’s president.

A pioneer of the behavioral medicine and health psychology movements, Dr. Rodin was trained as a research psychologist. After completing her Ph.D. work at Columbia University in 1970, she joined the faculty of New York University as an assistant professor of Psychology.

It’s necessary but not sufficient to learn and then work. You must learn from the work and learn while you work.

 

She was promoted to associate professor in 1975, named a full professor of Psychology in 1979, and added the title of professor of medicine and psychiatry in the School of Medicine, in 1985. Prior to her appointment as Yale’s provost in 1992, she served two years as chair of the department of psychology and one year as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

At Yale, Dr. Rodin earned an international reputation as both a pioneer of the women’s health movement and as one of the early psychologists to focus on the integration of both the biological and psychological factors that lead to obesity. From 1983 to 1993, she chaired an international research network studying health-promoting and health-damaging behavior for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Dr. Rodin’s research also contributed to the understanding of aging by demonstrating that elderly people who are given control over their environment are more active, healthier, and live longer than those who are consigned to helplessness. In recognition of her scientific achievements, Dr. Rodin served on President Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology and was elected to several leading academic societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Rodin’s leadership ushered The Rockefeller Foundation into a new era of strategic philanthropy that emphasized partnerships with business, government, and the philanthropic community to address and solve for the complex challenges of the 21st century. Rodin championed two whole new fields that are now pervasive: resilience and impact investing. At Penn, Dr. Rodin presided over an unprecedented decade of growth and progress that transformed the institution, its campus, and the community, taking the university from sixteenth to fourth in U.S. News and World Report national rankings. The University also engineered a comprehensive, internationally acclaimed neighborhood revitalization program in West Philadelphia.

Dr. Rodin has served as a member of the board for several leading corporations and many non‐profits. She has authored more than 200 academic articles and chapters, and has written or co‐written 15 books, including her two most recent, The Power of Impact Investing: Putting Markets to Work for Profit and Global Good and The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong.

Curriculum Vitae

Click here for Judith Rodin’s full CV.

Timeline

1944

Judith Rodin, née Seitz, born in Philadelphia, PA

Judith Rodin wins a statewide smile contest in 3rd grade

Sponsored by the American Dental Association

1953
1965

Judith Rodin elected President of Penn Women's Student Government

Completes a merger with the Men's Student Government -- a first step in bringing coeducation in the Arts and Sciences to Penn

Judith Rodin graduates from Penn

B.A. Psychology with Honors

1966
1971

Judith Rodin receives Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University

Dr. Judith Rodin joins Yale faculty

1972
1977

Dr. Judith Rodin receives the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology

Given by the American Psychological Association

Dr. Judith Rodin becomes Yale University Professor of Psychology, Medicine and Psychiatry

1985
1991

Dr. Judith Rodin named the Dean of the Yale School of Arts & Sciences

The first woman to serve in this role

Dr. Judith Rodin becomes Yale Provost

1992
1993

Dr. Judith Rodin appointed to PCAST

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology under President William J. Clinton

Dr. Judith Rodin named President of the University of Pennsylvania

Becomes the first woman and first Penn graduate to permanently lead an Ivy League Institution

1994
1996

Penn launches the West Philadelphia Initiatives

As President, Dr. Judith Rodin leads the internationally-acclaimed neighborhood revitalization program

Penn establishes Penn Medicine

Dr. Judith Rodin's team creates a new, self-regulating medical system integrating Penn's vast network into a single non-profit

2001
2005

Dr. Judith Rodin receives the Lifetime Career Achievement Award

Given by the American Psychological Association

Dr. Judith Rodin named President of The Rockefeller Foundation

Becoming the first woman to serve as president

2005
2005

The Rockefeller Foundation launches the first of many urban resilience initiatives

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Judith Rodin helps lead the initiative to rebuild New Orleans and prevent future disaster

Impact investing takes off

Spurred by a conference at The Rockefeller Foundation and inspires many progressive initiatives

2007
2010

Dr. Judith Rodin named to a new White House commission

The White House Council for Community Solutions by President Barack H. Obama

Dr. Judith Rodin appointed Co-Chair of the New York State 2100 Commission

Working alongside Governor Andrew Cuomo to rebuild a more resilient New York in the wake of Superstorm Sandy

2012
2013

The Rockefeller Foundation pioneers 100 Resilient Cities

100RC aims to help cities around the world build resilience to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century

Dr. Judith Rodin awarded the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal

By the Municipal Art Society of New York

2013
2014

Dr. Judith Rodin publishes The Power of Impact Investing and The Resilience Dividend

Dr. Judith Rodin receives the United Nations International Quality of Life Award

2016
NOW

Dr. Judith Rodin today

Dr. Judith Rodin serves on the boards of numerous corporate and philanthropic organizations, and advises and speaks globally on education, resilience, impact investing and philanthropy. She was named and continues to serve as President Emerita, University of Pennsylvania

1944

Judith Rodin, née Seitz, born in Philadelphia, PA

1953

Judith Rodin wins a statewide smile contest in 3rd grade

Sponsored by the American Dental Association

1965

Judith Rodin elected President of Penn Women's Student Government

Completes a merger with the Men's Student Government -- a first step in bringing coeducation in the Arts and Sciences to Penn

1966

Judith Rodin graduates from Penn

B.A. Psychology with Honors

1971

Judith Rodin receives Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University

1972

Dr. Judith Rodin joins Yale faculty

1977

Dr. Judith Rodin receives the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology

Given by the American Psychological Association

1985

Dr. Judith Rodin becomes Yale University Professor of Psychology, Medicine and Psychiatry

1991

Dr. Judith Rodin named the Dean of the Yale School of Arts & Sciences

The first woman to serve in this role

1992

Dr. Judith Rodin becomes Yale Provost

1993

Dr. Judith Rodin appointed to PCAST

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology under President William J. Clinton

1994

Dr. Judith Rodin named President of the University of Pennsylvania

Becomes the first woman and first Penn graduate to permanently lead an Ivy League Institution

1996

Penn launches the West Philadelphia Initiatives

As President, Dr. Judith Rodin leads the internationally-acclaimed neighborhood revitalization program

2001

Penn establishes Penn Medicine

Dr. Judith Rodin's team creates a new, self-regulating medical system integrating Penn's vast network into a single non-profit

2005

Dr. Judith Rodin receives the Lifetime Career Achievement Award

Given by the American Psychological Association

2005

Dr. Judith Rodin named President of The Rockefeller Foundation

Becoming the first woman to serve as president

2005

The Rockefeller Foundation launches the first of many urban resilience initiatives

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Judith Rodin helps lead the initiative to rebuild New Orleans and prevent future disaster

2007

Impact investing takes off

Spurred by a conference at The Rockefeller Foundation and inspires many progressive initiatives

2010

Dr. Judith Rodin named to a new White House commission

The White House Council for Community Solutions by President Barack H. Obama

2012

Dr. Judith Rodin appointed Co-Chair of the New York State 2100 Commission

Working alongside Governor Andrew Cuomo to rebuild a more resilient New York in the wake of Superstorm Sandy

2013

The Rockefeller Foundation pioneers 100 Resilient Cities

100RC aims to help cities around the world build resilience to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century

2013

Dr. Judith Rodin awarded the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal

By the Municipal Art Society of New York

2014

Dr. Judith Rodin publishes The Power of Impact Investing and The Resilience Dividend

2016

Dr. Judith Rodin receives the United Nations International Quality of Life Award

NOW

Dr. Judith Rodin today

Dr. Judith Rodin serves on the boards of numerous corporate and philanthropic organizations, and advises and speaks globally on education, resilience, impact investing and philanthropy. She was named and continues to serve as President Emerita, University of Pennsylvania