American Academy of Arts & Sciences – Decatur and Jamal Al-Lail

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, recently inducted its 239th class. Among the new inductees were Kenyon College President Sean Decatur and Effat University President Haifa Jamal Al-Lail. Both Kenyon College and Effat University are members of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance.

The American Academy was founded in 1780, during the American Revolution, by John Adams, John Hancock, and 60 others to advance learning in service to the public good. The Academy is both an honorary society that recognizes and celebrates the excellence of its members and an independent research center convening leaders from across disciplines, professions, and perspectives to address significant challenges and advancing the common good.

Decatur is trained in biophysical chemistry. In his independent work at Mount Holyoke, he showed that selective incorporation of stable isotopes into the amide bond in proteins could decouple the interactions among amide bond vibrations in the infrared spectrum. Known as “isotope editing”, this elegant approach provides local structural information, most notably in aggregates related to fibril formation in human diseases. During this time, Decatur’s career shifted towards academic administration, initially as Dean at Oberlin College, and most recently as President of Kenyon College. Decatur has emerged as an academic leader with broad influence, particularly for small liberal arts institutions.

Jamal Al-Lail is the President of Effat University, Jeddah Saudi Arabia. She was awarded a PhD in Public Policy from the University of Southern California. Before joining Effat University in 1998, she served as the first Dean of Girls’ Campus in King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Haifa is a distinguished leader, respected academic, renowned advocate of youth engagement, and author of several articles; having also delivered many keynote speeches on women’s education in the Middle East, women and change, entrepreneurship and business. Dr. Haifa is a winner of the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She is also the recipient of many awards such as the Innovation Award, Saudi Sayidaty, Queen Effat’s Distinction Award, Leading Woman CEO, Distinguished Arab Woman Award, World Family Summit Award, and the Distinguished Arabian Woman Award. Dr. Haifa continues to work towards enhancing women’s education throughout Saudi Arabia. 

Haifa Reda Jamal Al-Lail
Sean M. Decatur