Skip to Navigation

Horace Mann Medal

The Horace Mann Medal is given annually to a Brown Graduate School alumnus or alumna who has made significant contributions in his or her field, inside or outside of academia. Any graduate of a Brown advanced-degree program is eligible.  The medal is awarded at Commencement exercises in May. 

A nomination should, at a minimum, include a strong supporting rationale for the nomination, expressed in a letter of nomination. Up to two additional supporting letters may also accompany the nomination. All nominations should be made through Brown UFunds (select the Graduate School Academic Honors button). The deadline is November 5, 2021.

The final selection process takes place in late fall, in conjunction with the University's selection of honorary-degree recipients. (Nominations received after the deadline will be considered in the next round of review.) Selection news is announced in May.

Note: Nominators/departments will be expected to assist the Graduate School in hosting the Medalist; guidelines will be provided if selected.

This award was created in 2003 and replaced the Distinguished Graduate School Alumni Award.  

2020/2021 Medal recipient:

Ares J. Rosakis ’80 Sc.M., ’82 Ph.D.

An international leader in solid mechanics and structures engineering, Ares J. Rosakis ’80 Sc.M., ’82 Ph.D., is the recipient of the 2020/2021 Horace Mann Medal.

Ares J. RosakisAres J. Rosakis

Rosakis is recognized for his research and mentoring skills, as well as being “a champion of societal impact that can be realized through the sciences,” Sorensen Family Dean of the Brown School of Engineering, Larry Larson in his nomination. The Medal is awarded at Commencement to a Brown University Graduate School alum who has made significant contributions in their field.

Rosakis currently serves as the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he started in 1982 as the Institute's youngest tenure track faculty member. In the Brown tradition, his work is highly interdisciplinary and combines basic science and technology.

During his career, Rosakis has made a number of pioneering contributions to his field. One of his research interests combines engineering fracture mechanics and geophysics. Rosakis collaborated with seismologists to design experiments that accurately mimic the movement of the Earth’s crust during an earthquake in a controlled laboratory setting. One of his biggest contributions in geophysics is the experimental discovery of super-shear ruptures (super-fast shear cracks that exceed the shear wave speed of the host solid), a phenomenon that is also observed during the rupturing of natural faults resulting to very destructive, super-shear earthquakes and tsunamis. His work has helped scientists better understand the release of energy from large earthquakes in the form of seismic waves and how to apply this information to create safer buildings and infrastructure. Read more.

Learn about previous medal recipients