Ever since I learned a year ago about the honor you intended to bestow upon me, I have asked myself: What is it in my life's work that led you to confer upon me your Second Presidents' Award? You could have chosen many other, perhaps more deserving, recipients. But tonight I do not wish to compare myself to others. It would be most ungracious to charge you with being mistaken, or too self-effacing to charge myself with being unworthy of your Award.
Ultimately, I concluded that you honor me less for the work I have published and more for the impact I have had on so many of you as your teacher and colleague during the last thirty years. I have lived my life with people—family, friends, students. I have cherished, and still cherish, the contacts with my students, a remarkable number of whom soon became collaborators, colleagues, friends or took off on their own, enriching in significant ways what we had first learned together.