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MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World

Robert A. Muh Alumni Award
History + Profiles of Recipients



The Muh Alumni Award was founded and endowed by Robert A. Muh '59. A life member of the MIT Corporation who also serves on several SHASS visiting committees, Muh wanted to celebrate the humanities, arts, and social sciences dimension of an MIT education. In 2000, on the occasion of the School's 50th anniversary, Bob and his wife Berit launched the Muh Alumni Award, a biennial award which includes a popular public lecture, and honors an MIT alum who has made extraordinary contributions during a career in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.  

 

Muh Alumni Award Recipients 2001 - 2011

 

2001

Gus Solomons Jr 
is a dancer, choreographer, writer and actor, who graduated from MIT in 1959. He created the title role in Donald Byrd's The Harlem Nutcracker (1996-99); directs PARADIGM, a repertory dance company for veteran performers. Solomons is an Arts Professor at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts; writes about dance for Dance Magazine, Gay City News, DanceInsider.com, and Metro Daily, and has danced in the companies of Pearl Lang, Donald McKayle, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham. In 2000, Solomons won a Bessie (New York Dance and Performance Award) for Sustained Achievement in Choreography. In 2004, he was awarded the Balasaraswati/Joy Anne Dewey Beineke Chair for Distinguished Teaching at the American Dance Festival, and in 2006-2007, he was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, lecturing at several U.S. universities. •

 

 

2003

George Pratt Shultz
 is an economist and Republican presidential adviser known best as the Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan. Shultz graduated from Princeton in 1942 with an economics degree, served in the Marine Corps Reserves, and earned a Ph.D. in Industrial Economics from MIT. He taught at MIT (1948-57), was a professor and dean at the University of Chicago (1962-68) and a fellow at Stanford University's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1968-69) before joining Richard M. Nixon's administration in 1969. He served as Secretary of Labor, director of the Office of Management and Budget and Secretary of the Treasury under Nixon. He returned to the private sector in 1974, a few months before Nixon's resignation, and became president and director of the Bechtel Group. Already an economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan, Shultz left his post at Bechtel to replace Alexander Haig as Secretary of State in 1982. He served for the remainder of Reagan's term. Shultz has been a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution since 1989. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1989. •

 

 

2005

Ned Block
, a former Chair of MIT Philosophy, earned his Ph.D at Harvard and is the Silver Professor of Philosophy, Psychology, and Neural Science at NYU. He works in philosophy of mind and foundations of neuroscience and cognitive science. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Language and Information, a Sloan Foundation Fellow, a faculty member at two National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes and two Summer Seminars. Block is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Science Foundation. He is a past President of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. He was Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Hong Kong; Townsend Visitor, University of California at Berkeley; and Smart Lecturer at Australian National University. •

 

 

2007

Michael Kaiser
 received his Master's degree in management from MIT's Sloan School of Management and his Bachelor's degree in economics magna cum laude, from Brandeis University. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Arts Administration at New York University, He received the Dance Magazine Award in 2001, Capezio Award in 2002, Helen Hayes Washington Post Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theater Community in 2003, the St. Petersburg 300 Medal in 2004, Washingtonian of the Year in 2004, a U.S. Department of State Citation in 2005, the Blacks in Dance Award in 2005, and was the first American to receive China’s “Award for Cultural Exchange” in 2005. He was awarded The Order of the Mexican Eagle in 2006 and was named Impresario of the Year in 2006 by Musical America. In 2009, Mr. Kaiser received the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America and the Kahlil Gibran “Spirit of Humanity” Award from the Arab American Institute Foundation. In March 2011, Georgetown University conferred him with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.  •

 

 

2009

Robert C. Merton
 is the School of Management Distinguished Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management.  Now a University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Merton was the George Fisher Baker Professor of Business Administration (1988-98) and John and Natty McArthur University Professor (1998-2010) at the Harvard Business School. He served previously on the finance faculty of the Sloan School (1970 -1988). In 1997, Merton received the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for a new method to determine the value of derivatives. He is past President of the American Finance Association, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Merton received a B.S. in Engineering Mathematics from Columbia University, a M.S. in Applied Mathematics from California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT.  •

 

 

2011

Joseph E. Aoun
 PhD '82, is a disinguished scholar in linguistics, and the seventh president of Northeastern University. Prior to taking on the presidency at Northeastern, Aoun was Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Southern California. He joined USC in 1982 in the Department of Linguistics, and during his time at USC served as head of the academic Senate. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Aoun was awarded the Masters Oriental Languages and Literature, Saint Joseph University, Beirut; Diploma of Advanced Study General and Theoretical Linguistics, University of Paris VIII; and a Ph.D.in Linguistics, from MIT. In 2006, the French government presented him with the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of the USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship, and a fellow of the Linguistic Society of America.  •

 

 

Suggested Links

Auon receives 2011 Muh Alumni Award

Profile: Robert A. Muh


Robert A. Muh, '59