SAIC President Dr. Walter E. Massey Receives Making History Award

Chicago, IL—Dr. Walter E. Massey, President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), received the Enrico Fermi Making History Award for Distinction in Science, Medicine, and Technology on Wednesday, June 6, at the18th annual Making History Awards presented by the Chicago History Museum. A prominent physicist who, in addition to his lengthy career in higher education, has served as Director of the Argonne National Laboratory and the National Science Foundation and as Vice President for Research at the University Of Chicago, Massey was honored together with three fellow recipients in Civic Leadership, Corporate Achievement, and Education.

In a video tribute to the achievements of his life and career shown at the event, Dr. Massey noted the influence he’s had on young people as one of his greatest accomplishments. Throughout his academic career, which began amid the civil rights activism of the late 1960s, Dr. Massey has been an advocate for issues surrounding minority students and education. Among many other leadership positions, he was a founding trustee of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, and is currently on the board of After School Matters and the Museum of Science and Industry. While serving as Professor of Physics and Dean of the College at Brown University he developed and directed the Inner City Teachers of Science Program, where college students studying science education became tutors and mentors in urban classrooms. Dr. Massey is also President Emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta—his alma mater, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics at the age of 20 in 1958—in addition to serving as SAIC President.

“Receiving an award named for Enrico Fermi is one of the proudest moments of my life,” said Dr. Massey upon accepting the award. “My association with the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, where Fermi also did his seminal work, makes this award even more special.”

Chicago History Museum Trustee Ali Velshi, CNN Chief Business Correspondent and Anchor, hosted the awards dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Dr. Adele S. Simmons received the Robert Maynard Hutchins Making History Award for Distinction in Education, and Miles D. White received the Bertha Honoré Palmer Making History Award for Distinction in Civic Leadership. On behalf of Walgreens,Gregory D. Wasson accepted the Cyrus McCormick Making History Award for Historic Corporate Achievement.

The recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees from institutions that include Yale University, Northwestern University, and Ohio State University, Dr. Massey has focused much of his research on quantum liquids and solids. His written work discusses university-industry partnerships and the issue of technology transfer, addressing the distribution of skills among institutions and developing greater accessibility to new technology and materials. Dr. Massey has been leading SAIC through a period marked by a number of influential achievements since he became President in September of 2010. U.S. News and World Report announced March 13 that SAIC's Master of Fine Arts program rose to the nation's second rank among 220 peer institutions. His complete bio is available with other materials in the SAIC online Press Room.

About the Chicago History Museum
The Chicago History Museum cares for, showcases, and interprets millions of authentic pieces of Chicago and U.S. history. Their ability to illuminate the past is a reminder of what really happened once upon a time, sheds light on the present and compellingly informs the future. With more than 20 million authentic artifacts, the Chicago History Museum stands at the crossroads of our city’s—and America’s—past and future. The Museum offers unique, innovative and interesting glimpses into our history. Utilizing on-line initiatives and web-based podcasts, the Museum continues to evolve and adapt to our world’s changing needs, and reaches a global audience in the millions. For more information, please visit

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate programs to nearly 3,200 students from around the globe. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC's resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit

Download Release (printer-friendly version): SAIC President Dr. Walter E. Massey Receives Making History Award.

Press/Media contact

Bree Witt
P: 312.499.4211 (office)