On December 5th, The National Institute of Social Sciences (NISS) celebrated their 105th annual Gold Medal Dinner at a private club in Manhattan. One of the nation’s oldest honorary societies, the NISS has presented Gold Medals to men and women whose lives have manifested the highest achievements and have made significant contribution to society and humanity since 1913. This year’s honorees, Dr. Paul Edward Farmer and Peter Gelb, joined a distinguished, diverse pantheon of honorees that stretches back more than a century.
In his opening remarks, Fred Larsen, NISS president, declared that “In order to achieve wonderful things in art, science, or society we need to pair discipline with virtue.” The Knickerbocker Greys (a an after-school organization founded in 1881) presented the flag and led the party of 165 in the Pledge of Allegiance. Jeff Klitz and the Brooklyn Harmonics sang The Star-Spangled Banner followed by NISS Trustee, Angela Cason, and the Chairman of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Win Rutherford, leading God Bless America.
Anthony Roth Costanzo, star of The Met Opera’s new Akhnaten, and Angel Blue, star of Porgy and Bess, praised Peter Gelb.
In accepting his medal, Peter spoke with wit of the trials of running the nation’s largest classical music organization. He received the Gold Medal for his achievements building the Metropolitan Opera into a vibrant and influential arts organization, balancing classical opera traditions with innovative productions and new works. His predecessor, Rudolph Bing, received the award in 1960, continuing the tradition of the NISS recognition of the role of art in society.
Next Dr. Sheila Davis, Chief Executive of Partners In Health, introduced Paul Farmer and spoke movingly of their work together in Haiti and Africa.
Dr. Paul Edward Farmer, a medical anthropologist and physician, received a standing ovation as he rose to speak of a life dedicated to improving healthcare for the world’s poorest people.
The mission of the National Institute of Social Sciences (NISS) is to promote the study of social sciences, to support social science research and the discussion of pressing social issues, and to honor individuals who have offered distinguished service to humanity. In addition to its grant program and undergraduate scholarships, the NISS hosts illuminating events on important issues. To learn more, visit www.socialsciencesinstitute.org
Photographs by Annie Watt