The National Institute of Social Sciences (NISS) celebrated their 105th annual Gold Medal Dinner

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Angela Cason and Win Rutherfurd with the Knickerbocker Greys.

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.

Paul Edward Farmer.
Peter Gelb.

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.

Peter Gelb and Fred Larsen.
Fred Larsen and Paul Edward Farmer.

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.

The National Institute of Social Sciences celebrated its 105th annual Gold Medal Dinner.

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

Michelle Larsen, Henry Larsen, Anthony Ross Costanzo, and Angel Blue.
Jane and William Told.
Louise Mirrer and David Halle.
L. to r.: Robert Farrell and Suzanne Hastings Farrell; Emily and Peter Samton.
Barbara Tober, Kent Barwick, and Janet Ross.
L. to r.: Jennie Du Pont and Michelle Larsen; Christopher Mason and Donald Tober
Kent Barwick, Joan Davidson, Scott Corzine, and Anna Bergman.
L. to r.: Joanna Fisher and Sana Sabbagh; Barbara Tober and Peter Gelb
Lindsay and Josh Lynn.
Anthony Roth Costanzo, Elbrun Kimmelman, and Angel Blue.
Dr. Sheila Davis, Todd McCormack, Gracey Stoddard, and Alice Boelter.
Boo Grace and Donald Tober.
Fred Larsen, Michelle Larsen, Grace Larsen, and Henry Larsen.
Kirat Young, Joanna Fisher, and Yanna Avis.
L. to r.: Paul Edward Farmer and Dr. Sheila Davis; Fred and Michelle Larsen.
Cole Harrell and Elbrun Kimmelmann.
Juan Montoya, Susan Gutfreund, and Urban Karlsson.
Tai Cheng and Sana Sabbagh.
Dr. Karen Burke Goulandris, John Stratakis, and Chris Boak.
Scott McBee, CeCe Black, Barbara Tober, and Scott Corzine.
Angela Cason and Win Rutherfurd.
Anthony Roth Costanzo and Joanna Fisher.
Zander Barry, Alison McManus, Henry Larsen, Jamie Lerner, Grace Larsen, Jay Lundeen, Andrea DeLeon, Victoria Bonsall, Wendy Appelle, Ali Venosa, and Michelle Sidran.

Photographs by Annie Watt

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