Gov. Tom Wolf PhD ’81 receives the 2023 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award

The two-term Pennsylvania governor will deliver his award lecture "Collective Action: The Essence of Politics" at an event on March 21, 2023


Gov. Wolf's Muh Alumni Award Lecture | March 21, 2023

The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) has announced that former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf PhD ‘81 has been recognized with the 2023 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award.

The biennial Muh Alumni Award recognizes the tremendous achievements of MIT degree holders who are leaders in one of the Institute's humanities, arts, or social science fields. The prize was founded in 2000 by Robert Muh '59 and his wife Berit, on the occasion of the school's 50th anniversary. This year's award recognizes Wolf's distinguished political career.

Wolf is a graduate of MIT's PhD program in the Department of Political Science. He also earned a graduate degree from the University of London. He earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.

"Governor Wolf has dedicated his life to public service and improving the lives of Pennsylvanians during his time in office," says Agustin Rayo, Kenan Sahin Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. "The Muh Award is a tribute to one of our most distinguished alumni." 

Wolf will deliver the Muh Award Lecture on Tuesday, March 21. The event begins at 5 pm in the MIT Samberg Conference Center, 6th floor of the Chang Building. The event is free and open to the public. 

Wolf's lecture is titled "Collective Action: The Essence of Politics." In his address, Wolf will share the challenges of running a functional government in a dysfunctional world with extreme partisan division. He will explore how society can move past negativity and nastiness in politics, highlighting examples of his administration's work during his time as Pennsylvania governor as a potential path forward to greater government effectiveness.

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 to 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.

Wolf returned to the MIT campus last fall, when he delivered a talk as part of the Manufacturing@MIT distinguished speaker series. Wolf discussed reviving American manufacturing and focused on an outline of the policy approach he used in his own state. 

Prior to becoming governor, Wolf was owner of the Wolf Organization, a distributor of lumber and other building products. Wolf bought the family business when it was on the brink of bankruptcy, overseeing the eventual growth and transformation of the company. Beyond politics, Wolf has served on and led the boards of numerous organizations. He also interrupted his undergraduate studies at Dartmouth to serve in the Peace Corps, spending two years in a small village in India.


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Story from MIT News

About the Muh Alumni Award

MIT Department of Political Science

Prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Michael Brindley, Director