Ron Chernow, Robert J. Shiller and Michael I. Sovern to Receive Gold Honor Medals on November 14

Ron Chernow, Robert J. Shiller and Michael I. Sovern

Ron Chernow, Robert J. Shiller and Michael I. Sovern

The National Institute of Social Sciences will honor three distinguished Americans--author and biographer Ron Chernow, economist and Nobel laureate Robert J. Shiller, and Columbia University president emeritus Michael I. Sovern--at the 103rd Gold Medal Dinner on Tuesday, November 14, in New York City.

Ron Chernow’s bestselling books include The House of Morgan, winner of the National Book Award; The Warburgs, which won the George S. Eccles Prize; The Death of the Banker; Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Washington: A Life, which received the Pulitzer Prize for Biography; and Alexander Hamilton, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and adapted into the award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton. Chernow is a past president of PEN, has received eight honorary doctoral degrees, and was awarded the 2015 National Humanities Medal. His newest book, Grant, is scheduled to be published in October 2017.

Robert J. Shiller is Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University, and professor of finance and a fellow at the International Center for Finance at the Yale School of Management. In 2013, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences with Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen. Since 1980, he has been a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 1991, he co-founded the firm Case Shiller Weiss, which produced the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, now published by Standard & Poor’s. He has been vice president of the American Economic Association (2005), president of the Eastern Economic Association (2006-07), and president of the American Economic Association (2016).

Michael I. Sovern is president emeritus of Columbia University and Chancellor Kent Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He joined the  Columbia law faculty in 1957, served as chair of the Executive Committee of the Faculty (1968-69); dean of the law school (1970-79); university provost (1979-80); and university president (1980-93). He has served as chairman of Sotheby's and president of the Shubert Foundation. Sovern has been a mediator between the New York Transit Authority and the Transport Workers Union, as well as between New York City and its firefighters and policemen. He has been a consultant to Time magazine and the Ford Foundation. 

The National Institute has presented the Gold Honor Medals annually since 1913 to distinguished Americans who have significantly contributed to the improvement of society. Previous honorees include four former U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court justices and other members of the judiciary, six former U.S. Secretaries of State, as well numerous luminaries in academia, law, government, education, philanthropy, the arts, medicine, science, and industry.

About the National Institute of Social Sciences
Established in 1912, the National Institute of Social Sciences is an honorary society of Americans dedicated by service and philanthropy to the public good and joined together to recognize and celebrate those who have achieved at the highest level. In addition to presenting the Gold Honor Medals each year, the National Institute makes grants to graduate students in the social sciences, and has a vibrant chapter in Palm Beach, Florida.

For information about the National Institute or the Gold Medal Dinner, please contact the National Institute's office at (212) 831-0560 or natins2@verizon.net.

Bruce Stillman Headlines National Institute's Annual Luncheon

Dr. Bruce Stillman at the Issues Discussion Luncheon (Credit: Michael Dames/National Institute of Social Sciences)

Dr. Bruce Stillman at the Issues Discussion Luncheon (Credit: Michael Dames/National Institute of Social Sciences)

The National Institute of Social Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest honorary societies, welcomed 70 guests to its annual Issues Discussion Luncheon on Monday, June 5. The luncheon, which was held in midtown Manhattan, is the major event in the National Institute’s spring calendar.

Chauncey G. Olinger, Jr., the National Institute’s president, welcomed the guests, noting that this event marked the 26th year that the National Institute has held an issues discussion luncheon in New York City.

The luncheon program began with brief remarks from Dr. Zachary Cooper and Mr. Hirokazu Shirado, a previous and the current recipient of a National Institute’s Seed Grant. Dr. Cooper, who earned his doctorate at Princeton and is now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, noted that the Seed Grant was "hugely important in completing my work." Mr. Shirado, who is completing his degree in Yale's Sociology Department, credited his Seed Grant with "keeping my studies going."

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The keynote speaker was Dr. Bruce Stillman, the president and chief executive officer of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who discussed the rise of gene-editing techniques and their implications for the modern world.

"We are in the middle of a scientific revolution," Dr. Stillman said.

Through artificial selection, "humans have been intervening in the way species look for a long, long time.” But the development of new gene-editing techniques, including CRISPR-Cas9, has raised new possibilities and questions. "Secondary effects are now the reason people are hesitant about gene editing," he said.

This explosion of new knowledge means that scientific literacy is more important than ever. Yet, Dr. Stillman worried that science faced new threats in today’s political environment. “Scientific education in some parts of the country is being suppressed,” he said.

About the National Institute of Social Sciences
Established in 1912, the National Institute of Social Sciences (www.socialsciencesinstitute.org) is an honorary society of Americans dedicated by service and philanthropy to the public good and to honoring those who have achieved at the highest level. Since its founding, the National Institute has presented its Gold Honor Medals to distinguished Americans, established a vibrant chapter in Palm Beach, Florida, and made grants to graduate students in the social sciences.

 

Kaplan Fund Makes Grant to National Institute

Joan K. Davidson (Credit: Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Joan K. Davidson (Credit: Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

The National Institute of Social Sciences is pleased to announce that it has received a generous grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund (www.jmkfund.org), a New York-based philanthropic foundation known for its innovative support of the environment, preservation, the arts, and civil liberties.

The grant, which will be used to provide general operating support for the National Institute, was recommended by Joan K. Davidson, who is a member of the National Institute’s Board of Trustees. From 1977 to 1993, Mrs. Davidson was president of the Kaplan Fund, which was established by her father in 1945. Now the Fund’s president emeritus and a trustee, she is a widely respected advocate and supporter of philanthropic causes in New York City and the Hudson Valley.

“Everyone at the National Institute of Social Sciences is enormously grateful to Joan and to the J.M. Kaplan Fund for this wonderful show of support,” said Chauncey G. Olinger, Jr., the National Institute’s president. “This grant will help the National Institute continue its important work of honoring and celebrating the achievements of extraordinary Americans.”

 

About The National Institute of Social Sciences

Established in 1912, the National Institute of Social Sciences (www.socialsciencesinstitute.org) is an honorary society of Americans dedicated by service and philanthropy to the public good and joined together to recognize and celebrate those who have achieved at the highest level. Since its founding, the National Institute has presented Gold Medals to distinguished honorees, established a vibrant chapter in Palm Beach, Florida, and made grants to graduate students in the social sciences.

 

Bruce Stillman to Discuss "Changing Human Genes" at National Institute of Social Sciences' Issues Discussion Luncheon on Monday, June 5th

Dr. Bruce Stillman, President and CEO of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Dr. Bruce Stillman, President and CEO of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Bruce Stillman, the president and chief executive officer of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, will speak at the annual Issues Discussion Luncheon of the National Institute of Social Sciences on Monday, June 5th, in Manhattan.

Dr. Stillman, whose research focuses on how chromosomes are duplicated in cells, will discuss "Changing Human Genes: Choices for Humanity," focusing on CRISPR-Cas9, a new technique that allows geneticists to modify genes in human embryos. CRISPR holds the potential to alter the human genome with enormous consequences for the future of the human race.

A native of Australia, Dr. Stillman earned his a B.S. degree with honors at the University of Sydney and a Ph.D. from the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University. He moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow in 1979 and joined the scientific staff in 1981. Dr. Stillman was director of the Laboratory's Cancer Center from 1992 to 2016. In 1994, he succeeded Nobel Laureate Dr. James D. Watson as director of the Laboratory and became president in 2003. 

Dr. Stillman is a member of the Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received five honorary doctorates. 

Tickets to the luncheon are $100. Seating is limited. Please contact the National Institute at (212) 831-0560 for information.

About The National Institute of Social Sciences
Established in 1912, the National Institute of Social Sciences (www.socialsciencesinstitute.org) is an honorary society of Americans dedicated by service and philanthropy to the public good and joined together to recognize and celebrate those who have achieved at the highest level. Since its founding, the National Institute has presented Gold Medals to distinguished honorees, established a vibrant chapter in Palm Beach, Florida, and made grants to graduate students in the social sciences

Barbara Tober to be Honored at "8 Over 80" Gala

Barbara Tober at the 2014 Giving Back Foundation Gala in New York.

Barbara Tober at the 2014 Giving Back Foundation Gala in New York.

The National Institute of Social Sciences congratulates trustee Barbara Tober and her husband, Donald, who will be honored for their philanthropy by the New Jewish Home at the fourth annual “Eight Over 80” benefit. The gala, which celebrates “the creativity and significance of the over-80 generation,” will be held on Tuesday, April 4, at the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan.

Other honorees include designer Iris Apfel, actress, dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, civil rights leader Vernon Jordan, television producer Norman Lear, chef Jacques Pépin, and businessman/philantropist Morris W. Offit.

For more information, or tickets, visit the Eight over Eighty website: http://8over80.org.

Adele Smithers, Former Trustee, Passes Away

The National Institute of Social Sciences mourns the passing of Adele Smithers, a longtime member and a former trustee. In addition to her association with the National Institute, Mrs. Smithers had expanded on her late husband’s philanthropy in support of recovering alcoholics in New York and had spearheaded a significant lawsuit that empowered benefactors to safeguard the original purposes of their donations.

“Adele Smithers had a long and distinguished association with our organization,” said Chauncey G. Olinger, Jr., president of the National Institute of Social Sciences. “She will be deeply missed by her many friends.”

Read the New York Times obituary of Mrs. Smithers

Read Ray Negron’s tribute to Mrs. Smithers at NY Sportsday

Read Mrs. Smithers's official biography at the Christopher D. Smithers Foundation