The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) has announced that former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf PhD ’81 has been recognized with the 2023 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award.
The biennial Muh Alumni Award recognizes the tremendous achievements of MIT degree holders who are leaders in one of the Institute’s humanities, arts, or social science fields. The prize was founded in 2000 by Robert Muh ’59 and his wife Berit, on the occasion of the school’s 50th anniversary. This year’s award recognizes Wolf’s distinguished political career.
Wolf is a 1981 graduate of MIT’s PhD program in the Department of Political Science. He also earned a graduate degree from the University of London and an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.
“Governor Wolf has dedicated his life to public service and improving the lives of Pennsylvanians during his time in office,” says Agustin Rayo, the Kenan Sahin Dean of SHASS. “The Muh Award is a tribute to one of our most distinguished alumni.”
Wolf will deliver a Muh Award Lecture on Tuesday, March 21, titled “Collective Action: The Essence of Politics.” The event begins at 5 p.m. in the MIT Samberg Conference Center, 6th floor of the Chang Building. The event is free and open to the public.
After serving as Pennsylvania’s secretary of revenue from 2007 to 2008, Wolf was elected as the state’s 47th governor. He served two terms, holding office from January 2015 until January 2023. During his time as governor, Wolf prioritized investing more in education, expanding access to health care, reforming the criminal justice system, and protecting the environment. Wolf led the state through a period of tumultuous political division, as well as the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Wolf returned to the MIT campus last fall, when he delivered a talk as part of the Manufacturing@MIT distinguished speaker series. Wolf discussed reviving American manufacturing and focused on an outline of the policy approach he used in his own state.
Prior to becoming governor, Wolf was owner of the Wolf Organization, a distributor of lumber and other building products. Wolf bought the family business when it was on the brink of bankruptcy, overseeing the eventual growth and transformation of the company. Beyond politics, Wolf has served on and led the boards of numerous organizations. He also interrupted his undergraduate studies at Dartmouth to serve in the Peace Corps, spending two years in a small village in India.