President Joanne Berger-Sweeney created the President’s Medal for Science and Innovation to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions through STEM fields.

The award honors an individual who has gained prominence internationally in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics and who represents the liberal arts ideal of empowering humanity through the sciences. As Trinity enters its third century of excellence, the introduction of this award supports the College’s goal of elevating Trinity’s standing in the sciences nationally.  

The President’s Medal for Science and Innovation Advisory Committee, which includes prominent STEM faculty at Trinity College, leads the selection process, and ultimately recommends highly qualified candidates to the president. Recipients are not necessarily graduates of Trinity, but have made lasting contributions to their field.  

Inaugural Presentation of the President’s Medal for Science and Innovation on February 28, 2024

The inaugural event will honor Eric R. Fossum ’79, H’14, at the Spring Bicentennial Symposium on February 28, 2024. The medal will be presented at a ceremony in conjunction with the Presidential Distinguished Lecture, which will be delivered by Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president emeritus of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

About Eric R. Fossum ’79, H’14

Eric R. Fossum majored in physics and engineering at Trinity. He went on to earn an M.S. and a Ph.D. in engineering and applied science from Yale University.

Fossum is the John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technologies at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, director of Thayer’s Ph.D. Innovation Program, and vice provost for entrepreneurship and technology transfer at Dartmouth.

In 2017, Fossum won the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, considered by many as engineering’s Nobel Prize. He invented the CMOS active pixel image sensor used in almost all cell-phone cameras, webcams, many digital-still cameras and in medical imaging, among other applications. He worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was CEO of two successful high tech companies and is a serial entrepreneur. He has published more than 300 technical papers and holds 180 U.S. patents.

A Trinity trustee from 2014 to 2022, Fossum has served on the College’s Board of Fellows, STEM Advisory Board, and Engineering Advisory Council. He was honored with Trinity’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2004, an honorary doctor of science degree in 2014, and the Alumni Medal for Excellence in 2017. He currently serves on the Entrepreneurship Center Advisory Board.

As part of the Bicentennial Spring Symposium, Eric Fossum will join Senior and Director, SEA Change, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Shirley M. Malcom for a lunchtime conversation (invitation only).

Shirley Malcom

Shirley Malcom is senior advisor to the CEO and director of the SEA Change initiative at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In her career of more than 40 years at AAAS, she has worked to improve the quality of and increase access to education and careers in STEM as well as to enhance public science literacy. Malcom is a trustee of the California Institute of Technology and a regent of Morgan State University. She is a former member of the National Science Board, the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation, and served on President Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. Malcom, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, received a Ph.D. in ecology from The Pennsylvania State University, a master’s in zoology from UCLA, and a bachelor’s with distinction in zoology from the University of Washington. She holds 18 honorary degrees. Malcom serves on the boards of The Heinz Endowments, The Kavli Foundation, Public Agenda, and the National Math and Science Initiative. Internationally, she is a leader in efforts to improve access of girls and women to education and careers in science and engineering and to increase use of science and technology to empower women and address problems they face in their daily lives. In 2003, Malcom received the Public Welfare Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious award given by the academy.