Goldstein Prizes for Honors Seniors

Joseph and Ellen Goldstein of Washington D.C. have provided a generous gift to recognize outstanding students who are graduating with Honors. Nine prizes range across the academic divisions of the college and also recognize achievement or potential in the fine arts, public service, teaching, and humanitarianism. Each prize is named for a distinguished Michigan alumnus, alumna or faculty member associated with endeavors across the intellectual breadth of the College. In addition to a cash prize of $1000, winners also receive a formal, framed citation of their award signed by President Schlissel and Dean Martin; the winners’ names are inscribed on a plaque in our office.

We invite department chairs, Honors concentration advisors, and Honors thesis advisors to nominate all excellent students for these prizes. These prizes are not solely thesis prizes, but recognize overall excellence in the various fields of endeavor. The humanities, social science, and math and natural science prizes are intended for the most academically outstanding student in each of the large discipline areas. The creative arts prize is for a student who is a writer, musician, visual artist, or actor. The public service, teaching, and humanitarian prizes are awarded as much for the potential a student demonstrates as for past or current accomplishments. Even though Sidney Fine was an honored teacher of, mentor in, and scholar of history, the prize named for him may be won by students who have demonstrated the potential to become inspiring teachers and scholars in any discipline.

Award winners are chosen by the Honors Directors, the Honors faculty advisory council, and senior staff. Nominations should include a supporting letter from the Department Chair, Associate Chair or Honors Concentration Director or Advisor as well as one from the student's thesis advisor and should address the undergraduate achievements of the student and his/her potential for continued excellence. Other faculty may also write to describe the breadth of the student’s achievement.

Nominations:  Nominations should reach our office by Monday, April 11, at noon. You may email your nominations directly to Please save all applications materials as a single PDF entitled "LastName_FirstName_Application." Please also indicate the specific category you have in mind, but if you think a student is eligible for more than one prize, or you’re not sure which one to use, don’t worry: we will transfer nominations to the category we find most appropriate. 

Prizes are presented at the Honors Graduation Awards Ceremony, which will be held in the Michigan Union at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, 2015. Faculty who submit nominations are welcome to attend the Awards Ceremony.

The prizes are:

The Robert Hayden Humanities Award
Robert Hayden (1913-1980), a preeminently important poet in American and African-American literature, was a graduate student at UM, studying under W. H. Auden. He taught at Michigan after his graduation, spent 23 years on the faculty of Fisk University, then returned to UM, where he completed his teaching career.

The Arthur Miller Arts Award
Arthur Miller (1915-2005) graduated from UM in 1938 and went on to become one of the most celebrated playwrights of the twentieth century. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and Kennedy Center honoree, Miller returned to Michigan in 2004 for “An Arthur Miller Celebration.”

The Jerome and Isabella Karle Award in Physical Sciences
Jerome Karle received his Ph.D. in physics from UM in 1938. He worked on the Manhattan Project and was a co-winner of the 1985 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Isabella Karle earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at UM in 1944 and went on to pioneer new methods to study the structure of molecules.

The Marshall Nirenberg Award in Life Sciences
Marshall Nirenberg (1927-2010) earned his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry at UM in 1957 and spent most of his career at the National Institutes of Health, where he became the section head for Biochemical Genetics in 1962.  He shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1968 with two other scientists for work on the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.

The Stephen Smale Award in Mathematical Sciences
Stephen Smale received his Ph.D. in mathematics from UM in 1957, having begun his studies here as an first-year student in 1948.  He spent most of his career at UC-Berkeley and in Hong Kong, where he is a Distinguished University Professor.  His most substantial work is on the Poincaré conjecture and Morse theory; that and other ground-breaking work has been recognized by many awards and honors, including the Fields Medal, the Veblen Prize, the National Science Medal, and the Wolf Prize.

The Marshall Sahlins Social Science Award
Marshall Sahlins earned his BA at UM. He has been Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago since 1973. His numerous books and articles have covered topics from the civilizations of the Pacific to the effects of cultural resistance in indigenous populations.

The Gerald Ford Public Service Award
The thirty-eighth President of the United States, Gerald Ford (1913-2006) was a UM alumnus who, as a student, was a starting center on the football team. In recognition of his lifetime of service to the state of Michigan and to the nation, the School of Public Policy here was named for him. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is on the North Campus.

The Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award
Raoul Wallenberg (1912-1947?), Swedish businessman and diplomat, is credited with saving 100,000 Hungarian Jews from Nazi extermination in 1944. He studied architecture at Michigan in the late 1930s.

The Sidney Fine Teaching Award
Sidney Fine (1920-2009), Andrew Dickinson White Distinguished Professor of History, was among the most admired and respected faculty ever to teach at Michigan. During his career, which also included award-winning research in modern American history, Professor Fine taught more than 26,000 students.  He was the only UM professor to have been honored both by faculty colleagues in the Henry Russel lectureship and by undergraduate students in the Golden Apple Award.