Announcing the 12th Robert Coles “Call of Service” Lecturer & Awardee


We are thrilled to announce the honoree for the 12th Annual Robert Coles “Call of Service” Lecture & Award: Carmen Yulín Cruz! Join us on Friday October 26 to honor her as our 12th awardee and lecturer.

Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto is the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. A lifelong public servant, she has made a career in Puerto Rican politics since 1992, and served in the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico from 2009-2013 before being elected Mayor of San Juan. Mayor Cruz has been a staunch advocate of women’s, immigrant, LGBTQ, Deaf and labor rights in addition to pushing for Puerto Rican self-determination throughout her career. Last year, became a strong advocate for getting much needed help and dignified care for the people of Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria, drawing international attention to the egregiously underestimated impact of the natural disaster.

As a result of her tireless commitment to the people of San Juan and Puerto Rico in this humanitarian crisis, Mayor Cruz has received various recognitions and awards, including the Martin Luther King Centre Justice, Peace and Freedom Award and Humanitarian Leadership Award in 2018, the Antonio Villaraigosa Leadership Award in 2018, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Humanitarian Award 2017, and the Puerto Rico Arts Alliance Felisa Rincón Legacy Public Service Award. She was also nominated by People en Español as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in 2017,” and TIME chose her as a candidate for “Person of the Year” recognition in 2017.

This year, she was on the TIME list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” received the prestigious Ridenhour Truth-Telling Award, as well as Casa de Esperanza’s Award for Inspirational leadership, the Hank Aaron Champion of Justice Award, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Award for Economic Justice, and the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Corazón de Oro Award. She was also one of ESSENCE’s “Woke 100 Women.” Boston University conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws on the Mayor this past May, and in August the Imagen Foundation honored her with their prestigious 2018 Humanitarian Award. PBHA is proud to present her with the 12th Robert Coles “Call of Service” Award.

PBHA’s 12th Annual
Robert Coles “Call of Service” Lecture & Award

Friday, October 26 at 6:00pm (Doors open at 5:30)
The Memorial Church of Harvard University
This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required for attendance.


In 2007, PBHA established a lecture and award that brings a significant figure in public service to campus each year to engender a commitment to service and draw attention to important social issues.  Previous recipients and speakers include Marian Wright Edelman (2007), Al Gore (2008), Geoffrey Canada (2009), Arne Duncan (2010), Dorothy Stoneman (2011), Ernesto Cortes (2012), Shaun Donovan (2013), Bob Moses (2014), Alicia Garza (2015), Monica Roberts (2016), and Nihad Awad (2017).  Former PBHA volunteer, Board Member, child psychiatrist, civil rights worker, longtime Harvard Professor, and Pulitzer Prize Winning author Dr. Robert Coles and his book The Call of Service, which examines the idealistic spirit PBHA seeks to foster in our students, serve as a fitting title for this annual lecture and award.

Part of PBHA’s Annual Alumni Weekend
October 26-27