Michael Sovern ’55 Honored by the National Institute of Social Sciences

Columbia University President Emeritus Michael Sovern wins award for his educational leadership.

President Lee Bollinger (left) and President Emeritus Michael I. Sovern (right)

Columbia University President Emeritus Michael I. Sovern ’55 was honored by the National Institute of Social Sciences with its Gold Medal at its annual dinner in Manhattan on November 14. 

National Institute President Fred Larsen praised Sovern, the Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and a former dean of Columbia Law School, for his educational leadership. Sovern was the fifth Columbia University president honored by the National Institute. (The others were Nicholas Murray Butler, Grayson Kirk, William McGill, and George Rupp.) University President Lee C. Bollinger ’71 was on hand to congratulate Professor Sovern on receiving his medal. 

The event also honored Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Ron Chernow and Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert J. Shiller. 

Sovern spent more than half a century at Columbia as both a teacher and administrator. He joined the faculty of Columbia Law in 1957 and served as dean of the law school from 1970 to 1979. He was the university provost 1979-80; and president 1980-93. 

One of the country’s oldest honorary societies, the National Institute of Social Sciences presents Gold Medals annually since 1913 to those who have distinguished themselves in a wide array of professional fields and have made significant contributions to humanity. Other recent recipients of the Gold Medal include Jacques Barzun, Wallace S. Broecker, Robert A. Caro, Eric Foner, Eric R. Kandel, Paul Krugman, Kenneth T. Jackson, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. 

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Published December 1, 2017

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