NEW YORK -- The National Institute of Social Sciences has awarded Richard L. Ottinger, retired U.S. Representative and Dean Emeritus at Pace Univeristy' Elisabeth Haub School of Law, with the Institute's Gold Honor Medal for 2016.
Established in 1912, the institute has been dedicated to public service and philanthropy. The Gold Honor Medal recognizes and celebrates citizens who have fulfilled this mission at the highest level.
“I am honored to be recognized by the National Institute of Social Sciences, especially at this time when their work is more vital than ever,” said Ottinger. “With much of the media delivering false information that misleads our population and imperils our democratic values, we need social scientists to advise us on how best to communicate facts about issues that affect us all, especially the urgency of climate change action.”
Ottinger joined Pace Law School in 1984 after serving eight terms in Congress. Initially a professor in the environmental law program, he served as dean from 1994 to 1999. It was during that tenure that he constructed the modern classroom building that would subsequently be renamed as Richard Ottinger Hall.
He brought to Pace the New York State Judicial Institute, and he founded the Pace Energy and Climate Center. As chairman of Congress' Energy Conservation and Power Subcommittee and the Energy and Commerce Committee, he was instrumental in adopting key energy and environmental legislation. Ottinger continues to advise students in national and international environmental law as well as energy efficiency and renewable energy research.
Ottinger was one of three recipients of Gold Honor Medals this year, along with Judge Pauline Newman for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and Harvard University professor Robert D. Putnam.
The Gold Honor Medals are the Institute's highest recognition, presented annually since 1913 to distinguished Americans who have who have made the highest contribution to the improvement of society. Previous honorees include four former U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court justices and other members of the judiciary, six former U.S. Secretaries of State, as well numerous luminaries in academia, law, government, education, philanthropy, the arts, medicine, science, and industry.