Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson was honored with the Heritage Award by the Columbia Black Alumni Council (BAC) at its annual reception.

The Heritage Award is given annually by the BAC to an alumnus who has “chosen to enrich the lives of others, to protect the rights of others, to build better organizations, to uplift those in need, and ultimately create a more just, equitable, and learned society,” according to the BAC website. Awardees have made significant contributions in multiple fields, including politics, journalism and education. Previous honorees include New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet, Columbia Journalism Professor June Cross, and Teachers College Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs Janice S. Robinson.

Johnson served as the fourth United States Secretary of Homeland Security from 2013 to 2017. He previously was the General Counsel of the Department of Defense from 2009 to 2012 during the first years of the Obama Administration.