Kenneth A. Hersh, President and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, to Receive 2024  Horatio Alger Award
Horatio Alger Association names 11 outstanding individuals, each of whom has overcome adversity to achieve professional and personal success, to its Member Class of 2024 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 6, 2024) – 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 Kenneth A. Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center,has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Hersh joins 10 other exceptional business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2024 honors. For more than 75 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon esteemed individuals who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their communities.  

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Mr. Hersh’s early life was marked by the challenging aftermath of his parents’ divorce when he was 12. Responding to this difficult period as a teenager, he realized the importance of self-sufficiency in navigating life’s toughest moments. This resilient mindset proved invaluable as he co-founded an investment firm in 1988, leading it through financial storms and significant volatility over the following decades. Mr. Hersh’s strength extended beyond his professional life as he guided his family through turbulent times while continuing to grow his business. Despite enduring a heart attack in 2020 that necessitated a quintuple bypass operation, Mr. Hersh’s unwavering determination showcased his self-made strength in overcoming life-threatening adversities. 

After graduating from St. Mark’s School of Texas in 1981, he earned a bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University in 1985 and then completed an MBA from Stanford University in 1989. His career began with a two-year stint as an Analyst at Morgan Stanley & Co., specializing in oil and gas financing and mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Hersh co-founded and served as CEO of NGP Energy Capital Management from 1988 through 2015. Under his guidance, NGP became one of the nation’s leading investment firms, managing over $12 billion with a remarkable 27-year gross IRR of 30%.  

Today, Mr. Hersh is the president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center where he focuses on executing a long-term strategic plan of promoting policy solutions and public engagement to ensure opportunity for all, strengthen democracy, and advance free societies around the world. Simultaneously, he leads Hersh Family Investments, his private family office and is Chairman of the Hersh Foundation. He recently released his book, “The Fastest Tortoise: Winning in Industries I Knew Nothing About,” which shares insights from his diverse business and personal experiences. 

“Kenneth Hersh’s unwavering commitment to educational, social and humanitarian causes, coupled with his remarkable career, make him a natural choice for the Horatio Alger Award,” said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director, Horatio Alger Association. “As the Chairman of the Hersh Foundation, his work with renowned academic and civic institutions underscores his dedication to shaping a brighter future for young minds. We are proud to induct him as a lifetime Member.” 

Mr. Hersh focuses his philanthropy on organizations and initiatives that make a meaningful impact. In 2006, he donated to St. Mark’s School of Texas to build the Robert K. Hoffman Center, honoring the memory of the philanthropist and long-time Trustee, Robert K. Hoffman. Mr. Hersh’s contributions extended to the Alcuin Montessori School in Dallas as well as numerous cultural and educational institutions in North Texas. He is also active with our nation’s veterans, serving as vice chairman of the board of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation. 

His work has not gone unnoticed, earning him prestigious awards in the civic and professional realms. In 2014, he was recognized as the Master Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Region by Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year program. His contributions to the oil and gas industry were acknowledged in 2017 when he received the Oil & Gas Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2020, he received the L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award presented by SMU for demonstrating leadership and innovation in the energy field. Notably, in 2019, the Texoma region of the Anti-Defamation League honored Mr. Hersh with the Henry Cohn Humanitarian Award for his work in advancing human rights, dignity and equal opportunity. In 2023, Mr. Hersh received the Ernest C. Arbuckle Award, the highest honor presented annually by Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, recognizing excellence in management leadership. Also in 2023, he was recognized with the H. Neil Mallon Award presented by the World Affairs Council for his contribution to the region’s global presence.  

“I am truly honored and grateful to join the Horatio Alger Association,” said Mr. Hersh. “I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of the next generation. I hope to inspire these wonderful young people to face challenges with determination and to never let adversity stop them from making a positive impact.” 

2024 marks the 40th year that the Association has awarded annual need-based scholarships to high school students who have displayed dedication to pursuing higher education despite significant obstacles throughout their lives.  The Association, which aims to preserve and protect the American Dream for future generations, also seeks to educate young people about the endless opportunities available by the free-enterprise system through commitment, honesty, and diligence. The scholarships are made possible thanks to the generosity of Horatio Alger Members, who will have collectively provided more than $245 million to over 35,000 students. 

“It is our utmost honor to present the Horatio Alger Award to these 11 outstanding leaders who have exemplified perseverance, passion and a deep appreciation for higher education,” said James F. Dicke II, chairman, Horatio Alger Association and 2015 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “These influential leaders not only spearhead their own endeavors, but they give generously to causes, organizations and communities in need. Our 2024 awardees embody the Association’s mission and are proof that the American Dream is within reach for anyone who seeks it.”  

Mr. Hersh and the Member Class of 2024 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 4-6, 2024, during the Association’s annual Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The three-day event is an annual ceremony to honor both the achievements of Members and National Scholars, who will have multiple opportunities to meet, interact and exchange stories of perseverance.   


For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2024, please visit www.horatioalger.organdfollow the organization on Facebook, X, LinkedIn and Instagram.  




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, in 2023, the Association awarded more than $18 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships to 1,800 students across the United States and Canada, and provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Over the past 40 years, more than $245 million has been awarded in undergraduate, graduate, military veteran and career and technical education scholarships to more than 35,000 deserving students. For more information, please visit