In recognition of "contributions to society as they have emerged from one’s graduate education at Harvard," the Centennial Medal was first awarded to seven alumni in June 1989 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of GSAS. GSAS honors two to four alumni each year on the day before Harvard’s Commencement.

The design of the Centennial Medal reflects both the values of GSAS and the accomplishments that the medal celebrates. On one side, a figure representing Truth pours water from two bowls, symbolizing the wellspring of knowledge and potential. The other side of the medal depicts palm and laurel branches. The palm branch has traditionally represented the celebration of victory after a long struggle, and it also evokes the symbolic characteristics of the palm tree itself, which flourishes over a long life and bears fruit in old age. The laurel branch conjures the symbolism of the wreath awarded in antiquity to celebrate triumph and learning.

Call for Nominations

Help GSAS recognize distinguished alumni by nominating an candidate for the Centennial Medal. Anyone who has earned a master’s or PhD from GSAS is eligible for consideration.

Submit your nomination to the Graduate School Alumni Association, including your reasons for selecting the candidate along with their CV and bio. You may also mail your nomination to:

Harvard University Graduate School Alumni Association
Centennial Medal Nominations    
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center
1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 350
Cambridge, MA 02138

All submissions will be reviewed by the Graduate School Alumni Association Council’s Medals Committee and senior University officials, whose recommendations are voted on by the Harvard Corporation.

GSAS Centennial Medalists


Beth Adelson, PhD ’83
Guido Goldman '59, PhD ’69
Harold Luft '68, PhD ’56
Choon Fong Shih, PhD ’73

Read about the 2018 medalists



Russell Mittermeier, PhD ’77
Sarah Morris, PhD ’81
Thomas Pettigrew, PhD ’56
Richard Sennett, PhD ’69

Read about the 2017 medalists


Francis Fukuyama, PhD ’81
David Mumford ’57, PhD ’61
John O’Malley, PhD ’65
Cecilia Rouse ’86, PhD ’92

Read about the 2016 medalists


Wade Davis, AB ’75, PhD ’86
Robert Richardson, AB ’56, PhD ’61
Louise Ryan, PhD ’83
Gordon Wood, PhD ’64


Bruce Alberts, AB ’60, PhD ’66, biophysics
Keith Christiansen, PhD ’77, fine arts
Judith Lasker, PhD ’76, sociology
Leo Marx, SB ’41, PhD ’50, history of American civilization


Everett Mendelsohn, PhD ’60, history of science
Arnold Rampersad, PhD ’73, English
Louise Richardson, PhD ’89, government
Sherry Turkle, AB ’69, PhD ’76, sociology


Daniel Aaron, PhD ’43, history of American civilization
Karl Eikenberry, AM ’81, regional studies–East Asia
Nancy Hopkins, AB ’64, PhD ’71, biochemistry and molecular biology
Robert Keohane, PhD ’66, government


Heisuke Hironaka, PhD ’60, mathematics
Jeffrey Alan Hoffman, PhD ’71, astrophysics
Richard Wall Lyman, PhD ’54, history
Nell Irvin Painter, PhD ’74, history


David Bevington, AB ’52, PhD ’59, English
Stephen Fischer-Galati, AB ’46, PhD '49, history
Eric Maskin, AB ’72, PhD ’76, applied mathematics
Martha Nussbaum, PhD ’75, classical philology



Svetlana Leontief Alpers, AB ’57, PhD ’65, fine arts
David Brion Davis, PhD ’56, history of American civilization
Thomas Crombie Schelling, PhD ’51, economics
Joseph Taylor, PhD ’68, astronomy


Susan Lindquist, PhD ’77, cellular and developmental biology
Earl Powell III, PhD ’74, fine arts
Frank Shu, PhD ’68, astronomy
Ezra Vogel, PhD ’58, sociology


Frederick P. Brooks Jr., PhD 56, mathematics
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, AB 68, PhD 75, anthropology
Neil L. Rudenstine, PhD 64, English and American literature and language
Jeffrey D. Sachs, AB 76, PhD 80, economics


Daniel Callahan, PhD ’65, philosophy
Sandra Faber, PhD ’72, astronomy
Robert Solow, PhD ’51, economics
Kevin Starr, PhD ’69, English and American literature and language


Michael Artin, PhD ’60, Mathematics
H. Robert Horvitz, PhD ’74, Molecular Biology
Elaine Pagels, PhD ’70, Study of Religion
Michael Spence, PhD ’72, Economics


John Coolidge Adams, AB '69, AM '72, Music
Susan Tufts Fiske, AB '73, PhD '78, Social Psychology
Richard M. Hunt, PhD '60, History
George Rupp, PhD '72, Study of Religion


Agnes Gund, AM '80, Fine Arts
Amy Gutmann, AB '71, PhD '76, Government
Leon Richard Kass, PhD '67, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
William Schneider, PhD '72, Government


Lewis Branscomb, PhD '50, Physics
Madhav Gadgil, PhD '69, Biology
Joanne Martin, PhD '77, Psychology and Social Relations
Allen Puckett, SB '39, SM '41, Applied Sciences


Bernard Bailyn, PhD '53, History
Carolyn Walker Bynum, PhD '69, History
Elliott Carter, AB '30, AM '32, Music
Walter Kohn, AB '30, PhD '48, Physics


Harold Amos, PhD '52, Division of Medical Sciences
Stanley Cavell, PhD '61, Philosophy
Jill Ker Conway, PhD '69, History



Frances Daly Fergusson, PhD '73, Fine Arts
Nguyen Xuan Oanh, PhD '54, Economics
Carl Emil Schorske, PhD '50, History
Edward Osborne Wilson, PhD '55, Biology


Sissela Bok, PhD '70, Philosophy
I. Bernard Cohen, PhD '47, History of Science
Richard Zare, AB '61, PhD '64, Chemistry


Richard Karp, AB '55, PhD '59, Applied Mathematics
Stuart Rice, PhD '55, Chemistry
Henry Rosovsky, PhD '59, Economics
Ruth Simmons, PhD '73, Romance Languages and Literatures


Leon Botstein, PhD '85, History
Victor K. Fung, PhD '71, Applied Mathematics
Paul Guyer, AB '69, PhD '74, Philosophy
Maxine Kumin, AB '46, AM '48, Comparative Literature


Philip Anderson, PhD '49, Physics
Zbigniew Brzezinski, PhD '53, Government


Hanna H. Gray, PhD '57, History
Roald Hoffmann, PhD '62, Chemical Physics
Rosalind Krauss, PhD '69, Fine Arts


Renee C. Fox, PhD '54, Sociology
Marilyn French, PhD '72, English and American Literature and Language
Rolf Landauer, SB '47, PhD '50, Physics


Edward Bernstein, PhD '31, Economics
Saul Cohen, AB '37, PhD '40, Chemistry
Stanley Kunitz, AB '26, AM '27, English and American Literature and Language
Alice Rivlin, PhD '58, Economics


Eleanor Lansing Dulles, PhD '26, Economics
Caryl P. Haskins, PhD '35, Biology
Wesley W. Posvar, PhD '64, Government
Susan Sontag, AM '57, Philosophy


Margaret Atwood, AM '62, English
Samuel H. Beer, PhD '43, Government
Leo P. Kadanoff, AB '57, PhD '60, Physics


Thomas Eisner, AB '51, PhD '56, Biology
Jesse Greenstein, AB '29, PhD '37, Astronomy
Robert Motherwell, GSA '38 Philosophy
David Woodley Packard, PhD '67, Classics
Reginald H. Phelps, AB '30, PhD '47, History
James Tobin, AB '39, PhD '47, Economics
Margaret D. Wilson, PhD '65, Philosophy

Nominate for the Centennial Medal