Clinton Honors BU Professor with Citizens Award

in College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Health & Medicine, News Releases, School of Law, University Affairs
January 8th, 2001

Contact: Laura Mikols, 617-353-3666 |

(Boston, Mass.) — President Clinton announced today the 28 recipients who will receive the Presidential Citizens Awards at a White House ceremony this evening. Charles DeLisi, Arthur G.B. Metcalf Professor of Science and Engineering at Boston University, is one of them. He joins Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Elizabeth Taylor and other remarkable individuals being recognized for their service and accomplishments in a variety of areas including civil rights, medicine and health, education, sports, disability advocacy and government service.

Two other individuals affiliated with Boston University will receive medals this evening, Marion Wiesel and Archibald Cox. Wiesel helped her husband Elie, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at BU, establish the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. She serves as a strong advocate for the world’s children. Cox, who served as a Watergate special prosecutor, was a visiting professor at Boston University’s School of Law between 1984 and 1996.

“I am honored to recognize these talented and dedicated individuals who in remarkable ways have risen to America’s highest calling — active citizenship,” said President Clinton. “In giving freely of themselves and of their time they have undoubtedly inspired others to do the same.”

Internationally regarded as the father of the Human Genome Project, DeLisi conceived of a project to sequence the human genome, which eventually led to the current revolution in genetic knowledge.

DeLisi initiated the Human Genome Project while serving as director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Health and Environmental Research Programs. “He stimulated the National Institutes of Health to take the project seriously,” says George Bell, senior fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Without his initiative, the program might never have gotten going.”

The Presidential Citizens Medal, established in November 1969 by Executive Order 11494, may be bestowed by the President upon any U.S. citizen who has performed exemplary deeds of service for the nation. To date, 92 medals have been presented, not included those being awarded this evening.

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