Established in 1992 following the Massachusetts commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ historic voyage, the Christopher Columbus Celebrate Discovery Award honors the spirit of discovery and the creativity and innovation of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The award is made possible by a generous gift to Tufts University from the Massachusetts Christopher Columbus Quincentennial Commission and Celebrate Discovery! Inc., its affiliated nonprofit organization.
As the criteria for the award have evolved, it has become traditional for a distinguished member of the Tufts faculty to receive the award. Winners in the last few years have included leading faculty in biomedical engineering, chemistry, microbiology, and philosophy.
The Christopher Columbus Celebrate Discovery Award is presented each year by the President during a luncheon at Gifford House, the President’s residence on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus.
In addition to the annual award, the endowed fund also supports the work of two undergraduate Summer Scholars each year.
Recent Award Recipients
2016 – Kelly Sims Gallagher, professor of energy and environmental Policy, and director of the Center for International Environment & Resource Policy, Tufts University
2015 – Christina Economos, New Balance chair in childhood nutrition, and co-founder and director of ChildObesity 180, Tufts University
2014 – Matthias Scheutz, professor of cognitive and computer science, director of the Human–Robot Interaction Laboratory, and program director for the Ph.D. program in cognitive science, Tufts University
2013 – Maryanne Wolf, professor of child development, director of the Tufts University Center for Reading and Language Research
2012 – Diana Bianchi, executive director of the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center, vice chair for research and academic affairs in the Department of Pediatrics at the Floating Hospital for Children, and the Natalie V. Zucker Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Gynecology at Tufts University School of Medicine
2011 – Daniel C. Dennett, university professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University
2010 – Lawrence S. Bacow, 12th president of Tufts University (special recognition at the request of the co-chairs of the Massachusetts Christopher Columbus Quincentennial Commission)
2009 – Ralph Isberg, professor of molecular biology and microbiology, Tufts University
2008 – Samuel P. Kounaves, associate professor of chemistry, Tufts University
2007 – David Kaplan, professor and chair of biomedical engineering, Tufts University
2006 – John Coffin, professor of molecular biology and microbiology, Tufts University
2005 – Vanessa Kirsch, founder and managing director of New Profit, Inc.
2004 – Thomas M. Menino, mayor of the City of Boston
2003 – Rev. Ray Hammond, founder and pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
2002 – Frederick Salvucci, Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2001 – Anthony D. Cortese, Tufts’ dean of environmental programs (1989-1993), founder of the Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute, and author of the Talloires Declaration of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future