Graduate School

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 for the Horace Mann Medal. 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. Only one nomination package per nominee will be accepted. All nominations should be made through Brown UFunds (select the Graduate School Academic Honors button). 


November 7, 2022.

Selection Process

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.  

Horace Mann, class of 1819
Father of American public school education

Horace MannBorn in 1796Horace Mann spent his youth in poverty on his family's farm. Although his schooling was limited to about three months a year, he supplemented his learning through religious studies and tutoring. He entered Brown University as a sophomore, graduated in 1819, and went on to earn a law degree. 

Mann served as a state representative and, later, as a senator in the Massachusetts legislature. He helped pass legislation to create the nation's first state board of education, and from 1837 to 1848, served as the board's first secretary, creating a system of public schools in Massachusetts that would become a model for public education across the country. Mann's statue and that of Daniel Webster still flank the entrance to the Massachusetts State House.

In 1848, Mann was elected to Congress, where he fought vigorously against slavery. In 1854, he was named president of Antioch College in Ohio, where he remained until 1859. A few weeks before his death, he urged Antioch's graduating class, "Be ashamed to die before you have won some battle for humanity." Mann is buried at North Burial Ground in Providence.

2021-2022 Medal Recipient

Brian G. Keating ‘95 Sc.M., ’00 Ph.D.

brian g. keatingThe 2022 Horace Mann Medal is awarded to Brian G. Keating, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Physics at UC San Diego's Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. The Medal is awarded at Commencement to a Brown University Graduate School alum who has made significant contributions in their field. Join us on Saturday, May 28 at 12:30 pm at 85 Waterman Street for his forum presentation, Think Like Galileo Galilei: How to Remain Relevant for Half a Millennium.

Keating is currently the principal investigator and director of the Simons Observatory Project Office, which is currently under construction in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. This observatory will provide scientists a unique opportunity to study the nature of fundamental physical processes that have governed the origin and evolution of the universe. Over 270 scientists, engineers and technologists from over 35 institutions around the world are contributing to the project, making it the world’s largest cosmology collaboration.