Elizabeth Alexander is the President of the Andrew H. Mellon Foundation, the nation's largest funder in the arts and humanities, the Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. She composed and recited "Praise Song for the Day" for President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. She is the author of six books of poetry—including American Sublime, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—and the New York Times bestselling and Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Awards finalist memoir The Light of the World. She is also the first winner of the Jackson Prize for Poetry and a National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellow. She was the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University for 15 years and chaired the African American Studies Department.