Press Release

Seiichi Matsuda Receives Debra W. Stewart Award for Outstanding Leadership in Graduate Education

Kelley KarnesIssued: 12-10-22

CGS Contact: Kelley Karnes
602-791-8278 /


Washington, DC –  Seiichi Matsuda, Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at Rice University, today received the Debra W. Stewart Award for Outstanding Leadership in Graduate Education during an award ceremony at the Council of Graduate Schools’ (CGS) 62nd Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Created in 2016 by the CGS Board of Directors, this award recognizes outstanding leadership in graduate education, with focus on leadership qualities exemplified by the Council’s fifth President, Debra W. Stewart. According to his nomination materials, Dean Matsuda demonstrates these qualities through his accomplishments in doubling the number of graduate applications, tripling the number of undrepresented and minority graduate students, leading the design and launch of a TA funding source and distribution model, and developing a robost fellowship coaching model, to name a few of his achievments.

Under Matsuda’s leadership as dean, he expanded his office’s focus from infrastructure, record- keeping and policy oversight, to include a broad range of support structures for graduate students. His staff are empowered to assist and mentor graduate students, support and build campus communities, and find innovative, creative solutions to promoting student success. He has also been active in national efforts to improve graduate education, and served on the executive council of the Association of Graduate Schools from 2017-2020.

Julie Coonrod, Chair of CGS’ Board of Directors and Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of New Mexico, celebrates the contributions Dean Matsuda has made to graduate education.

“Dean Matsuda is a passionate advocate for graduate students and the CGS Board of Directors is pleased to recognize his leadership and service to the graduate education community,” Coonrod said. “His innovative and creative solutions for improving access to graduate education is inspiring and we are proud of the work he is doing.”

The selection committee considers nominees with a strong reputation for ethics and integrity, a history of active participation in the graduate community, and a record of strategic vision and actions resulting in meaningful impacts. Areas of special consideration include evidence-based innovation, program development, diversity and inclusion, student learning and career outcomes, personnel management, policy advocacy in support of graduate education and research, and fiscal responsibility.

Nominees for the award must be a current senior graduate dean at a CGS member institution (Regular or Associate) and cannot be an active member of the CGS Board of Directors. Nominations are made by member institutions and are reviewed by a selection committee of former graduate deans in the CGS community. The winner receives a $4,000 prize to support continuing innovations at the awardee’s institution.


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 About CGS

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of approximately 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.