About Daniel Patrick Moynihan


Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927–2003) served as United States Senator from New York, starting in 1976, and was Ambassador to the United Nations (1975-1976) and to India (1973-1975). Senator Moynihan was re-elected to the Senate in 1982, 1988, and 1994, and served until 2000. He was the Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Finance, having earlier served as Chairman. He served on the Committee of the Environment and Public Works, of which he was also formerly Chairman, and the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. He was a member of the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Joint Committee on the Library. Senator Moynihan held cabinet or sub-cabinet positions under Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. Senator Moynihan also served as a Professor of Education and Government at Harvard University. In 2001 Senator Moynihan became a Professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an institution of which he was a founder; he held this position until his death in 2003.

Senator Moynihan attended public and parochial school in New York City and graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem. He attended the City College of New York for one year before enlisting in the United States Navy. He served on active duty from 1944 to 1947. In 1966, he completed twenty years in the Naval Reserve and was retired. He earned his bachelor’s degree (cum laude) from Tufts University, studied at the London School of Economics as a Fulbright Scholar, and received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Awards include the Laetare Medal of the University of Notre Dame (1992); the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture from the American Institute of Architects (1992); and the Thomas Jefferson Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts or Humanities from the American Philosophical Society (1993). In 1994, he received the Gold Medal Award “honoring services to humanity” from the National Institute of Social Sciences. In 1997, the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University awarded Senator Moynihan the Cartwright Prize. He was the 1998 recipient of the Heinz Award in Public Policy for “having been a distinct and unique voice in this century independent in his convictions, a scholar, teacher, statesman and politician, skilled in the art of the possible.” Senator Moynihan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on August 9, 2000. His final book, Future of the Family, was published in 2003.

The American Academy of Political and Social Science dedicates the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize to public officials and scholars who champion the use of informed judgment to improve public policy.

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