Gallery of Recipients | Robert A. Muh Alumni Award

The Muh Alumni Award was founded and endowed by Robert A. Muh '59. A life member emeritus of the MIT Corporation who also served 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—2023



Gov. Tom Wolf (PhD '81, Political Science) is a graduate of MIT's PhD program in the Department of Political Science. After serving as Pennsylvania's secretary of revenue from 2007-2008, Wolf was elected as the state’s 47th governor. He served two terms, holding office from January 2015 through January 2023. During his time as governor, Wolf prioritized investing more in education, expanding access to health care, criminal justice reform, and protecting the environment. Wolf led the state through a period of tumultuous national political division, as well as the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Award Story




Rt. Hon. David W. Miliband
(SM ’90, Political Science) has served as President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) since 2013. From 2007 to 2010, Miliband served as the youngest U.K. Foreign Secretary in three decades, driving advancements in human rights and representing the United Kingdom throughout the world. His accomplishments have earned him the reputation as, in the words of President Bill Clinton, "one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time.”  In 2016 Miliband was named one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, and in 2018 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. As head of the IRC, Miliband oversees the organization’s relief and development operations in over 40 countries. He is the author of Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of Our Time (Simon & Schuster, 2017).


Watch the recorded lecture | 28 April 2021

Text of David Miliband's Muh Alumni Award Lecture

Award Story 


International Rescue Committee (IRC)


Christina Romer
(PhD '85, Economics) is the Class of 1957-Garff B. Wilson Professor of Economics at Berkeley. She joined the Berkeley faculty in 1988 and was promoted to full professor in 1993. Professor Romer is co-director of the Program in Monetary Economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and is a member of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of California, Berkeley. She has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. She has served as vice president and a member of the executive committee of the American Economic Association. Prior to her appointment at Berkeley, she was an assistant professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University from 1985-1988.

Award Story


Carlos Prieto
(SB '58, Engineering and Economics), Mexican-born and MIT-educated, is one of the most respected cellists in the world, regularly premiering works composed especially for him by Latin American, North American and European composers. He has received enthusiastic public acclaim and won excellent reviews for his performances throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, China, India, and Latin America. The New York Times of his Carnegie Hall debut raved "Prieto has no technical limitations and his musical instincts are impeccable."

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Joseph E. Aoun
(PhD '82, Linguistics) 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 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. 

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Robert C. Merton
(PhD '70, Economics) 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 PhD in Economics from MIT. 

Award Story


Michael Kaiser
 (SM '77, Management) 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. 

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Ned Block
(SB '64, Physics and Humanities), 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.

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George Pratt Shultz
(PhD '49, Economics) 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.

Award Story


Gus Solomons Jr
(SB '61, Architecture) 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,, 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.

Award Story

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Profile: Robert A. Muh

Robert A. Muh, '59