UMass Lowell advancement leader wins 2024 Roy J. Zuckerberg Endowed Leadership Award

BOSTON - Heather Makrez Allen, Ph.D., UMass Lowell’s executive director of alumni and donor relations, has been awarded the 2024 Roy J. Zuckerberg Endowed Leadership Award in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to women’s leadership programming at the university. She was recognized for her continued organization of the annual UMass Lowell Women’s Leadership Conference & Virtual Conversation and plans to promote additional women-centric events.

The Roy J. Zuckerberg Endowed Leadership Award was established in 2005 by UMass Lowell alumnus Roy J. Zuckerberg, a former senior director at Goldman Sachs. The Zuckerberg Award is designed to reward leaders of courage, conviction, and selflessness who have devoted their time and talent to helping the university accomplish its goals. 

Presented by the University of Massachusetts President’s Office, the recipient is selected by a committee, which includes representatives from each campus and the president’s office. The awardee receives $30,000 in funding per year to support research, teaching or service and a stipend of $20,000 per year. The award provides two years of support for a total value of $100,000.

With the award, Makrez Allen plans to create an intercampus network of women’s leadership events and programming, including expanding the Women’s Leadership Conference & Virtual Conversation statewide.

“The impacts that Roy Zuckerberg’s generosity have had on the university since the inception of this award are vast and meaningful,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “The visionary research, projects, and initiatives that are supported through this award leave a legacy that lasts beyond the two years that the award directly supports. We are grateful to Heather for her leadership and her many contributions to the university and are excited to see her put this award to work.” 

“The work will focus on surveying existing women’s leadership research and program offerings and providing more exposure,” said Makrez Allen, who has three degrees from UMass Lowell. “It is great that the work of the UMass Lowell Women’s Leadership Committee is being recognized through this prize as a premier program.”

Over the next two years, Makrez Allen plans to promote these efforts among both current UMass Lowell students and interested high schoolers as well as the corporate community, provide resources for faculty to attend additional conferences, and invite acclaimed women’s leadership experts to participate in existing UMass programming and events. 

Her hope is to coalesce the resources that exist across the UMass system. Noting the value of existing programming, she said: “We will be stronger when we are able to combine forces.”

Prior to her role in the UMass Lowell advancement department, Makrez Allen served in the UMass President’s Office academic affairs department before being appointed director of international programs at UMass Dartmouth. Makrez Allen is a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the Annual Giving Network, and serves on nonprofit boards within the community.

The Zuckerberg Endowed Leadership Award is provided every two years and alternates between a faculty member and a staff member.