Carnegie Mellon University
February 09, 2015

Carnegie Mellon To Receive American Humanist Association Award for Philosophical Diversity

By Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094

American Humanist AssociationThe American Humanist Association (AHA) has selected Carnegie Mellon University to receive the 2015 University Award for Philosophical Diversity. The award is given to higher education institutions that demonstrate standards of openness to humanism and are inclusive in their acceptance of the freedoms of expression and religion.

In March 2013, the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences launched a Humanism Initiative to promote humanistic inquiry at CMU. The initiative approaches humanism as an inclusive, value centered philosophical outlook in which students can examine and address the human condition. Its mission encompasses community building, education and research.

Carnegie Mellon’s Humanist League is a thriving student organization that hosts educational events, weekly discussion nights and cultural and service outings. Its efforts have raised awareness of important social issues, such as reproductive rights, sexual harassment, hate speech and censorship, LGBTQ acceptance, mental illness and the separation of church and state.

“We’re pleased to recognize Carnegie Mellon University and its Humanist League for its commitment to fostering dialogue about humanism and upholding the humanist values of reason, compassion and justice,” said Roy Speckhardt, AHA executive director. “As awareness of humanism and secular viewpoints increases in universities, we are proud to support schools that prepare students for work in the secular movement and beyond.”

The award will be presented to Richard Scheines, dean of the Dietrich College; Andy Norman, director of the Humanism Initiative; and Winston Yin and Katie Beittenmiller, student leaders of the Humanist League, at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 12 in Baker Hall’s Giant Eagle Auditorium.

“The philosophy of humanism — with its emphasis on human dignity, freedom of inquiry and reason — is a critical underpinning of higher education. This award is a testament to CMU’s commitment to the values that empower people to create a more humane world,” Norman said.

The award presentation is part of Carnegie Mellon’s Feb. 12 "Darwin Day" celebration. The event features a lecture by Chip Walter, author of the international bestseller "Last Ape Standing: The Seven Million Year Story of How and Why We Survived." Walter will discuss the evolution of our species, and the reason behindthe ways humans feel and act.

For more information on the AHA University Award for Philosophical Diversity, visit