The biennial Muh Award shines a light on the tremendous talent MIT generates in the arts, humanities, and social science fields.
Life Trustee, MIT Corporation
Former Chair, Humanities Visiting Committee
Founder, Muh Alumni Award
CEO, Sutter Securities, Inc.
Just before 8 a.m. Pacific Time, Robert Muh, CEO of Sutter Securities, answers his phone, speaking in a hearty voice. The San Francisco-based alum (SB’59) spent 39 years on Wall Street, and for most of his professional life, has been keeping early morning stockbrokers’ hours.
For all those years, Robert Muh has also been supporting MIT, which he describes as an extraordinary place full of exceptional people. Many MIT students do not fully realize just how special the Institute is, he says: “When you’re surrounded by exceptional people, as you are at MIT, it’s the norm."
Muh himself, of course, is one of those exceptional persons, a leader in finance who has also made a mission of championing MIT’s contributions in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
Discovery at MIT
Growing up on Long Island, Muh considered becoming a physicist. “But once I got to MIT,” he says, “I discovered more fields of study and possibilities that led to my life-long involvement in finance.”
After MIT, he earned an MBA and a Master of Philosophy degree in Finance from Columbia University. He was with McKinsey & Co. (1966–1969), chairman of Newburger, Loeb & Co. (1970–1972) and founded Financial Services International in 1972. He joined Bear Stearns in 1978, and from 1984–1987 was a senior managing partner in the San Francisco region. In 1992, he co-founded Sutter Securities Incorporated.
Tech Night at the Pops 2009
Bob Muh narrating Copland's
Muh Alumni Award
From his wide experience of the Institute (he is a life trustee of the MIT Corporation, former chair of the Humanities Visiting Committee, and former president of the Alumni Association), Muh felt strongly that he wanted do something new to highlight MIT's impact in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
To celebrate this dimension of MIT, Bob and his wife Berit founded the Robert A. Muh Alumni Award, launching it in 2000, on the occasion of the School’s 50th anniversary. The biennial award, which includes a popular public lecture, honors an MIT alum who has excelled in a career in the arts, humanities, or social sciences fields.
Muh can cite a long list of distinguished MIT-trained leaders who have made extraordinary contributions in these fields, including, of course, the first six Muh Awardees: arts administrator Michael Kaiser, President of the Kennedy Center; Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Merton; renowned dancer and choreographer Gus Solomons, Jr.; philosopher Ned Block, Silver Professor of Philosophy, Psychology, and Neural Science at New York University; former Secretary of State George Shultz, and Joseph E. Aoun, distinguished linguistics scholar and President of Northeastern University. The next member of this growing and prestigious group will be announced in 2013. ∎
Recipients of the Muh Alumni Award