The first Robert A. Muh Award to honor an MIT graduate for noteworthy contributions in a School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) field has been presented to award-winning dancer and choreographer Gus Solomons Jr.
The winner was announced by Professor Marcus Thompson of the Music and Theater Arts Program at the anniversary celebration dinner Saturday night at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Mr. Solomons, who was at the dinner to accept the award, will receive a $5,000 stipend.
Mr. Solomons (BArch 1961) received a Bessie award last month for his contributions to choreography and dance at the 16th annual New York Dance and Performance Awards ceremony. The Bessies "honor outstanding innovative achievement in dance and related performance work."
Mr. Solomons, artistic director and founder in 1972 of the Solomons Dance Company, originated more than 70 works as a dance soloist in the companies of Donald McKayle, Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. He teaches dance at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and has written for the Village Voice, Dance Magazine and the Chronicle of Higher Education. While attending MIT, he studied ballet with E. Virginia Williams, founder of the Boston Ballet Company.
Mr. Muh (SB in management 1959), a life member of the MIT Corporation and longtime chair of the Humanities Visiting Committee, endowed the award last August to honor an MIT alumnus or alumna who has made significant contributions to education, scholarship or performance, academic administration or arts management in the humanities, arts or social sciences. The award will rotate among the three major learning areas in SHASS.
"There is an amazing amount of talent and dedication in the humanities, arts and social sciences among MIT alumni/ae," said Mr. Muh, chief executive officer of Sutter Securities in San Francisco. "Students emerge from MIT prepared for anything and everything. Along with inventing the scientific and technological future, our alums make original and creative contributions to their communities and to the world outside of engineering and science. It is time for MIT to recognize and encourage those achievements."
Mr. Muh and his wife, Berit, are the parents of two daughters, Alison and Carrie, an MIT alumna. Carrie received the SB in biology in 1996 and the SB and SM in political science in 1997.
"This is a wonderful gift from the chair of the Humanities Visiting Committee," said Philip S. Khoury, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. "We cannot thank Bob enough for shining this spotlight on MIT alumni and the school."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 18, 2000.