Harvard Kennedy School Honors Alice M. Rivlin and Harold Varmus

Contact: Doug Gavel
Phone: (617) 495-1115
Date: November 04, 2009

CAMBRIDGE, MA – An eminent economist, Cabinet official and author; and a distinguished scientist and Nobel Prize winner are recipients of the 2009 Richard E. Neustadt and Thomas C. Schelling Awards. The awards were presented tonight (Nov. 3) during a dinner hosted by Dean David T. Ellwood at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Alice M. Rivlin, who served in several presidential administrations and as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board will receive the Richard E. Neustadt Award, bestowed annually to an individual who has created powerful solutions to public problems, drawing on research and intellectual ideas as appropriate. Past recipients include Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland (2008), Justice Richard J. Goldstone (2007), Dr. Muhammad Yunus (2006), and Dr. Judith Gueron (2005).

Harold Varmus, former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and co-recipient of a Nobel Prize for studies of the genetic basis of cancer, will receive the Thomas C. Schelling Award, bestowed annually to an individual whose remarkable intellectual work has had a transformative impact on public policy. Past recipients include Howard Raiffa (2008), Jagdish Bhagwati (2007), Daniel Kahneman (2006) and Judge Richard Posner (2005).

Each recipient will be awarded a $25,000 prize.

Funding for the awards has been provided by the David Rubenstein Fund for Kennedy School Excellence. The fund was established in 2004 by a generous $10 million gift from David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.

“These awards are given in the names of two people who were central to the creation of the modern Kennedy School,” said David T. Ellwood, dean of the school. “It is in their spirit that we recognize this year’s remarkable recipients, both of whom are highly accomplished in their fields, and who have furthered scientific knowledge and understanding while serving the public good. We are proud to honor their extraordinary contributions.”

Alice M. Rivlin is a visiting professor at the Public Policy Institute of Georgetown University and a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at Brookings. She has served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board (1996-99) and as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Clinton Administration. She is the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office (1975-83) and also chaired the District of Columbia Financial Management Assistance Authority. She is author of several books including “Reviving the American Dream” (1992) and “Beyond the Dot.coms” (2001), and is a frequent contributor to newspapers, television and radio.

Harold Varmus is president and chief executive officer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Much of his scientific work was conducted during 23 years as a faculty member of the University of California, San Francisco, where he and Dr. J. Michael Bishop were awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their work identifying the genetic basis of cancer. In 1993, Varmus was named by President Clinton to serve as director of the National Institutes of Health, a position he held until the end of 1999. Varmus has authored more than 300 scientific papers and five books, including the “The Art and Politics of Science” (Norton, 2009). He currently serves as co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

The 2009 Neustadt and Schelling Awards Selection Committee is comprised of:

  • Vartan Gregorian (chairman), president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. He served as president of Brown University from 1989-97; was a founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and ultimately its provost; and served as president of the New York Public Library.
  • R. Glenn Hubbard, Russell L. Carson professor of finance and economics and dean of the Columbia University Business School; former chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors.
  • Donna Shalala, professor of political science and president of the University of Miami; former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • Paul Volcker, former North American chairman of The Trilateral Commission; former chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System.
  • Shirley Williams, member of Parliament in the British House of Lords; former public service professor of elective politics at the Kennedy School of Government.

Richard Neustadt, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, was an eminent presidential scholar and advisor to three U.S. presidents who served as founding director of the Institute of Politics from 1965-71. He served as associate dean of the Kennedy School until 1975. He died in November 2003.

Thomas Schelling, Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, is internationally renowned for his work on game theory, specifically in regards to the dangers of nuclear war. He received the 2005 Nobel Prize for Economics. Schelling has held various positions in the White House and the Executive Office of the President, and is now Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

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