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Graduate School Awards & Prizes

The Graduate School bestows a number of prizes and awards on our students, faculty and alumni each year on the basis of teaching, service, leadership or notable achievements. Each May, at the Graduate School Commencement Convocation ceremony, many departmental or interdisciplinary student prizes also are awarded.

Prize Teaching Fellows (students)

The Prize Teaching Fellowships recognize outstanding performance and promise as a teacher. They are considered among the most important honors that Yale bestows upon graduate students.

Graduate School Public Service Awards (students)

The Graduate School Public Service Awards recognize the accomplishments of Yale graduate students engaged in outreach and service to the broader community, both locally and globally. The Graduate School confers the awards each year at Convocation.

The Graduate School Public Scholar Award recognizes research and activism conducted by a Yale graduate student that engages and betters the world at large. The public scholar is involved in activism, public policy-making and/or in public discourse based upon his/her research. The student’s academic work is motivated by a broad concern for public welfare and the research directly and concretely serves society.  The student also engages in outreach to inform the public about his/her research or to encourage policy-makers to consider the findings. Turning research into public advocacy, activism and social change is the basis for this award.

The Graduate School Disciplinary Outreach Service Award recognizes a graduate school student who uses specific knowledge of his/her own discipline as the basis for voluntary service in the local community.  Making knowledge and skills from one’s discipline relevant and useful to those in need in the community is the hallmark of this award.

The Graduate School Community Service Award honors a graduate student’s volunteer work in the local community while enrolled at Yale. The student is a dedicated and effective agent for positive change who volunteers with local community organizations, encourages other students to do the same, and may even have started a non-profit or charity. The community service need not be directly related to the student’s academic work. Committed sustained service to those in need is the benchmark for this award.

The Graduate School Public Service Awards application is available each year from February 15-April 1.

Graduate Mentor Awards (Faculty)

The Graduate School honors faculty members at Convocation for their exemplary qualities as mentors. Graduate students nominate dissertation advisors and other faculty for their advising and support, and the honorees are chosen by a committee of students and faculty, in coordination with the GSAS Dean's office.

2018 Award Recipients

  • Humanities: Crystal Feimster, Associate Professor of African American Studies and American Studies
  • Natural Sciences: Valentina Greco, Associate Professor of Genetics and Dermatology, and Cell Biology
  • Social Sciences: Claire Bowern, Professor of Linguistics

2017 Award Recipients

  • Humanities: David Blight, Professor of History, African American Studies and American Studies
  • Natural Sciences: Derek Briggs, Professor of Geology and Geophysics
  • Social Sciences: Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, Professor of Anthropology and Forestry and Environmental Studies

2016 Award Recipients

  •     Humanities: Roberta Frank, Professor Emeritus of English
  •     Natural Sciences: Chinedum Osuji, Associate Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
  •     Social Sciences: Jack Dovidio, Professor of Psychology and Professor in the Institute for Social and Policy Studies and Epidemiology

2015 Award Recipients

  • Humanities: Verity Harte, Professor of Philosophy and Classics
  • Natural Sciences: Hal Blumenfeld, Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience and Neurosurgery
  • Social Sciences: Naomi Lamoreaux, Professor of Economics and History

2014 Award Recipients

  • Humanities: Mary Lui, Professor of American Studies and History
  • Natural Sciences: Eric Dufresne, Associate Professor of Applied Physics, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science and Physics
  • Social Sciences: Greg Huber, Professor of Political Science and Professor in the Institution for Social and Policy Studies

2013 Award Recipients

  • Humanities: Kathryn Lofton, Professor of Religious Studies, American Studies and History
  • Natural Sciences: Evan Morris, Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Social Sciences: Elisabeth Wood, Professor of Political Science

2012 Award Recipients

  • Humanities: Katie Trumpener, Professor of Comparative Literature and English
  • Natural Sciences: Hemant Tagare, Professor of Radiology, Biomedical Imaging and Biomedical Engineering
  • Social Sciences: William Wright Kelly, Sumitomo Professor Emeritus of Anthropology

2011 Award Recipients

  • Humanities: Langdon Hammer, Professor of English
  • Natural Sciences: Jordan Peccia, Professor of Environmental Engineering
  • Social Sciences: Julia Adams, Professor of Sociology

2010 Award Recipients

  • Humanities: John Harley Warner, Professor in the History of Medicine, American Studies and History
  • Natural Sciences: Suzanne Alonzo, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Social Sciences: Kelly Brownell, Professor of Psychology

2009 Award Recipients

  • Humanities: Elliot Visconsi, Associate Professor of English
  • Natural Sciences: Patrick Vaccaro, Professor of Chemistry
  • Social Sciences: Scott Boorman, Professor of Sociology

2008 Award Recipients

  • Humanities: Seth Fein, Assistant Professor of History
  • Natural Sciences: Mitchell Smooke, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Social Sciences: Ellen Lust-Okar, Associate Professor of Political Science

Wilbur Cross Medal for Alumni Achievement

The Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal is an honor presented each year by the Graduate School Alumni Association to a small number of outstanding alumni. The medal recognizes distinguished achievements in scholarship, teaching, academic administration, and public service–all areas in which the legendary Dean Cross excelled. Each fall the Wilbur Cross Medal winners are invited to campus to receive their awards and give an address and to meet informally with graduate students and faculty in their field. The Wilbur Cross medals are listed on a bronze plaque.

 List of Wilbur Cross Medalists 1966-present

Wilbur Lucius Cross (Ph.D. 1889) himself was a scholar of distinction in English literature. He taught at the Sheffield Scientific School, the precursor to Yale's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He served as Dean during the Graduate School's reorganization into its present form, and championed the construction of HGS. He rejuvenated the Yale Review as its editor. Always active in politics, after retiring from Yale at age 70, he was elected and served Governor of Connecticut for 8 years (January 1931-January 1939).