December 6, 2016

McKenna Young
484-385-2913 (office)
[email protected]

Chicago Business Leader and Renowned Philanthropist Mellody Hobson to Receive 2017 Horatio Alger Award
Horatio Alger Association names 11 exceptional individuals, each of whom has overcome significant challenges to achieve professional and personal success, to its Member Class of 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 6, 2016) – Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Mellody Hobson, president, Ariel Investments,  LLC, has been selected for membership in the prestigious organization. Ms. Hobson joins 10 other esteemed business and civic leaders from across North America in receiving this honor in 2017. For the last 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon admirable leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversity, and who are committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.

Ms. Hobson, the youngest of six children, was born in Chicago and raised by a single mother who owned her own residential real estate business. From an early age, Ms. Hobson had her mother as an example of a hardworking female entrepreneur, though they fell on tough times and were even evicted from their home on multiple occasions. Ms. Hobson envisioned a brighter future for herself and studied extremely hard, receiving offers from many top colleges. She ultimately chose and graduated with a degree in international relations from Princeton University landing a job directly out of school at Ariel Investments, where she had completed a summer internship. Quickly climbing the corporate ladder, Ms. Hobson was appointed president of Ariel Investments, the largest African American-owned money management firm in the country, in 2000. She is currently a director of The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. and Starbucks Corporation as well as a financial contributor to CBS News.

“Mellody is a remarkable woman who overcame a challenging childhood to become an enormously talented and respected business leader, passionate community advocate and influential philanthropist.  She brings energy and vision to everything she does, and she profoundly touches and improves the lives of all those around her,” said Byron Trott, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2011 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “The example Mellody has set in her career and in her life will undoubtedly inspire our Scholars to set high goals and work tirelessly to achieve their dreams, no matter how far out of reach they may seem. Inducting Mellody as a 2017 Horatio Alger Member is an honor for the Association and we look forward to working with her to champion our important mission.”

Ms. Hobson now uses her fiscal expertise as a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. Her community outreach includes serving as chairman of After School Matters, a nonprofit that provides Chicago teens with high-quality, out-of-school time programs. She is a board member of The Chicago Public Education Fund, George Lucas Education Foundation, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and Sundance Institute, where she has been appointed emeritus trustee. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and serves on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors. In 2015, Ms. Hobson was named to TIME magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Ms. Hobson earned her AB from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, St. Mary’s College and the University of Southern California.

“Receiving the Horatio Alger Award is a very special moment for me, particularly as I stand in the company of such accomplished and resilient men and women,” Ms. Hobson commented. “The fantastic education I had access to as a child and the support I received from teachers and other mentors throughout my career were invaluable to my success. I hope that through my work with the Association I can do my part to make higher education more accessible to smart, driven young people in this country who need our help.”

Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this goal, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need. Scholarships are funded solely through the generosity of Association Members, Life Partners and friends.

Ms. Hobson and the Member Class of 2017 will be formally inducted into the Association on March 30-April 1, 2017, during the Association’s 70th Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs.

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2017, please visit and/or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HoratioAlgerAward.


About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, the Association awards more than $12 million annually in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada and provides college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $125 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit