Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is the Emily Hargroves Fisher Research Professor of Education at Harvard University, where she has been on the faculty since 1972.
She is the first African-American woman in Harvard’s history to have an endowed professorship named in her honor. Upon her retirement in 2019, the Emily Hargroves Fisher Endowed Chair has become the Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot Endowed Chair. The first endowed professorship in her name was established at Swarthmore College in 1993.
Lawrence-Lightfoot has been a Fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. In 1984, she was the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Prize, and in 1993 she was awarded Harvard's George Ledlie Prize given for research that makes the "most valuable contribution to science" and "the benefit of mankind.” In 1995, she became a Spencer Senior Scholar; and in 2008, she was named the Margaret Mead Fellow by the Academy of Political and Social Sciences. Lawrence-Lightfoot has been the recipient of twenty-eight honorary degrees from colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.