Aquinas Medal

Brief History and Guidelines

   At the 1949 meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association in Boston, the Executive Council voted to give the Association's first Aquinas Medal (then called the Cardinal Spellman-Aquinas Medal) to Jacques Maritain of Princeton University. The Medal was to be presented at the 1950 meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, but Maritain was unable to attend that meeting. As a result, the awarding of the Medal was postponed until the 1951 meeting in New York City. Also at the 1951 meeting, the Executive Council voted to give the second Aquinas Medal to Etienne Gilson. Gilson received the Aquinas Medal at the 1952 Annual Meeting in Cleveland. At the Cleveland Meeting, the Executive Council also voted not to award an Aquinas Medal in 1953. At the Annual Meeting of 1953 in Notre Dame, the Executive Council articulated the following standards for future Aquinas Medalists: 

"Outstanding teaching; personal publications of permanent and scholarly value; influence upon American philosophical thought without reference to membership in the American Catholic Philosophical Association." 

Rules concerning the Aquinas Medal 

(Revised at 2007 ACPA Annual Meeting)

The following rules are to supersede all previous rules, standards, and so on concerning the Aquinas Medal. 

Rules for nominating candidates for the Aquinas Medal

  1. The Nominating Committee for the Aquinas Medal consists of three persons: the immediate past-President of the Association (chairperson) and two others appointed by him/her.
  2. Any member of the ACPA may submit recommendations, along with supporting documentation, to the Chairperson of the Nominating Committee. Recommendations should be made no later than six weeks before the meeting at which the nominees are to be voted on.
  3. The "supporting documentation" that accompanies a recommendation should include a curriculum vitae of the person being recommended.
  4. The Nominating Committee must submit the names of at least two nominees to be voted on by the Executive Council.

Rules for awarding the Aquinas Medal

  1. Former recipients are ineligible.
  2. The award must not be given to a less-than-worthy recipient, but a serious effort will be made each year to find a worthy one.
  3. The recipient should be well known through his or her writings to members of the ACPA, and should be recognized as having contributed significantly to the development of philosophy in the Catholic tradition.
  4. The recipient should be an outstanding teacher.
  5. Those selecting the recipient will apply these criteria each according to his or her own judgment, since it is not possible to find an automatic way of making a decision. Of course, discussion should precede the choice.
  6. Long-standing membership in the ACPA shall count as a favorable factor in assessing nominees, but ACPA membership is not required.
  7. The vote of the ACPA Executive Council shall be by secret ballot. An absolute majority of votes will be required, with the person on the preceding balling obtaining the fewest votes being dropped from the next ballot until such a majority is reached.
  8. The names of the nominees, and the supporting documentation, should be submitted to the members of the executive council at least two weeks in advance of the meeting at which the nominees are to be voted on, along with a copy of these rules.
Aquinas Medal: Past Recipients

1951 - Jacques Maritain 
1952 - Etienne Gilson 
1953 - No recipient 
1954 - No recipient 
1955 - Gerard Smith 
1956 - No recipient 
1957 - No recipient 
1958 - Yves R. Simon 
1959 - Gerald B. Phelan 
1960 - Rudolf Allers 
1961 - James A. McWilliams 
1962 - No recipient 
1963 - Vernon J. Bourke 
1964 - Charles De Koninck 
1965 - James D. Collins 
1966 - No recipient 
1967 - Martin C. D'Arcy 
1968 - Josef Pieper 
1969 - Leo R. Ward 
1970 - Bernard Lonergan 
1971 - Henry B. Veatch 
1972 - Joseph Owens 
1973 - A. Hilary Armstrong 
1974 - Cornelio Fabro 
1975 - Anton C. Pegis 
1976 - Mortimer J. Adler 
1977 - Frederick C. Copleston 
1978 - Fernand Van Steenberghen 
1979 - Karol Wojtyla 
1980 - W. Norris Clarke 
1981 - Ernan McMullin 
1982 - G. E. M. Anscombe 
1983 - William A. Wallace 
1984 - John & Jean Oesterle 
1985 - Quentin Lauer 
1986 - No recipient 
1987 - Armand Maurer 
1988 - Mary T. Clark 
1989 - Gerard Verbeke 
1990 - Wilfrid Desan 
1991 - Edward A. Synan 
1992 - Kenneth L. Schmitz 
1993 - Ralph McInerny 
1994 - Jude P. Dougherty 
1995 - John T. Noonan 
1996 - No recipient 
1997 - Louis Dupré 
1998 - Allan Wolter 
1999 - John F. Wippel 
2000 - Peter Geach 
2001 - Richard Blackwell 
2002 - Robert Sokolowski 
2003 - Michael Dummett 
2004 - John Finnis 
2005 - Brian Davies 
2006 - Anthony Kenny 
2007 - Nicholas Rescher 
2008 - David Burrell 
2009 - Roland Teske 
2010 - Alasdair MacIntyre 
2011 - J.L.A. Gracia