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William T. Golden Receives 2001 Scholar-Patriot Award

The Award was announced at the Academy's 1845th Stated Meeting, "Challenges in a New Century: The Engaged Intellectual," which took place in New York on March 19th, 2001.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences presented its 2001 Scholar-Patriot Distinguished Service Award to William T. Golden, a prime architect of US science policy.

In a New York ceremony, the Academy honored Golden, 91, for his role in creating the National Science Foundation and the President's Science Advisory Committee, as well as for his leadership of the American Museum of Natural History and other major civic organizations. "Through his wise counsel and visionary leadership, Bill Golden has exerted tremendous influence over the development of science policy in the post-World War II period, both here and abroad," said James O. Freedman, President of the Academy.

"In more than 60 years of patriotic service to this country, in and out of government, Bill has served as a leading example of what John Adams and our other founders envisioned as the engaged intellectual," Freedman added.The Scholar-Patriot Award is among the Academy's highest honors.According to Chief Executive Officer Leslie Berlowitz, "The award honors individuals who embody the Academy's 221-year-old commitment to promoting the arts and sciences in the service of the community and the nation."Last year's award went to Leo L. Beranek, a pioneer of modern acoustics and an early contributor to the development of the Internet.

Golden's distinguished career of service to the nation began as a naval officer during World War II, when he received several Letters of Commendation for inventing an antiaircraft device. In 1950, President Truman asked Golden to serve as an advisor to help mobilize the nation's scientific resources. His recommendations, contained in what are now widely known as the Golden Memoranda, established the foundation for a presidential science advisory system and detailed a program for the National Science Foundation. Golden co-authored and edited three books on science advising to the top levels of government. His government work also included roles at the Atomic Energy Commission, the Department of State, and the second Hoover Commission.

Golden has helped advance public support of both the sciences and the humanities through a lifetime of service to many of the nation's leading scientific, cultural, and educational organizations. In addition to his role as the chair emeritus of the American Museum of Natural History, Golden has made unparalleled contributions as a board member and trustee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Barnard College, the Central Park Conservancy, Mount Sinai Medical Center, the National Humanities Center, and the New York Academy of Sciences. In 1996, he received the Public Welfare Medal, the highest honor accorded by the National Academy of Sciences.

In the citation presented to him by President Freedman and Academy Fellow Margaret E. Mahoney, Golden was lauded for his lifetime of "energy, generosity, and dedication to public life" and for serving as a "catalyst for the ideas and institutions that forged a new bond between science and government—a bond that endures to this day." The citation concluded

We honor your conviction that devoting one's life to public service, to the world of learning, and to the great institutions of this country is the best way to perpetuate a democratic and civil society. As the American Academy embarks on its third century, we are honored to be the fortunate beneficiary of your wisdom and guidance.

Today's event also marked the 1845th Stated Meeting of the Academy, a tradition that dates back to the organization's Revolutionary War-era founding. The meeting explored the theme "Challenges in a New Century: The Engaged Intellectual." Speakers included Freedman, Carnegie Corporation President Vartan Gregorian, Rockefeller Foundation President Gordon Conway, and Chief Executive Officer Berlowitz. New York-area Fellows attending the gathering also heard discussions of Academy studies on issues ranging from universal basic and secondary education to a proposed joint US-Russian missile data surveillance center to the social, cultural, and institutional forces that have shaped today's humanistic disciplines.

Founded in 1780, the Academy today serves a dual function: to honor leaders of exceptional achievement in every field and to conduct a varied program of projects responsive to the needs and problems of society. Academy studies bring together Fellows in different disciplines to engage emerging public and intellectual issues. Past members have included George Washington, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein. Fellows today include more than 160 Nobel laureates and leaders from every discipline and profession.

Academy Prizes

The Academy awards nine prizes that recognize excellence in the sciences and the humanities and a commitment to the ideals of the Academy.