Yesterday, Cuban Zoologist Gilberto Silva Taboada and U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa degree from the American Museum Of Natural History (AMNH).
Cuban biologist Gilberto Silva Taboada — a world-renowned expert on Caribbean bats — was recognized for his extraordinary contributions to science spanning the fields of bio-geography, ecology, paleontology, and taxonomy of Caribbean mammals. Born in Havana in 1927, Silva has maintained very strong ties and collaborations with scientists from AMNH. It will be Silva’s first Ph.D.
Also received an honorary degree is U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr, who was recognized for his efforts promoting educational advancement.
In July, as part of a formal Memorandum of Understanding signed in Havana between the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and the National Museum of Natural History (Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba, MNHN), it was first announced that Cuban Curator Emeritus Gilberto Silva Taboada would receive the honorary degree from the Gilder Graduate School. Both institutions agreed to collaborate on research, exhibitions, and education projects, including an historic partnership in presenting a bilingual exhibition, ¡Cuba!, about the Caribbean island nation, scheduled to open at AMNH on November 21.
Gilberto Silva Taboada was part of the Museum’s 2015 Explore21 Expedition in Cuba, when a team of Museum and Cuban scientists conducted field research in Humboldt National Park, one of the most remote and biologically important areas of the country, to advance understanding of Cuban biodiversity, its evolution, bio-geography, and conservation.
More about the school:
The Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School (RGGS) houses two graduate programs, the doctoral program in Comparative Biology established in 2006—the first Ph.D. degree granting program to be offered at a museum in the Western Hemisphere—and the Master of Arts in Teaching, also the first of its kind. The Museum’s MAT Earth Science Residency program began as a pilot in 2011 and now is authorized to grant master’s degrees through the RGGS, was the first museum-based, stand-alone master’s degree program to prepare science teachers in the United States.
The American Museum of Natural History is recognized as a global leader in research and education in systematic and evolutionary biology, earth and planetary sciences, genomics, and cultural and physical anthropology. The Ph.D. Program in Comparative Biology, covering the origins, history, and range of life on Earth, significantly expands the AMNH’s longstanding role of training the next generation of scientists and educators in one of the most exciting and challenging research areas of contemporary biology. The Richard Gilder Graduate School is both a natural extension of the Museum’s integrated mission of science and education, and the keystone for an ongoing leadership role in addressing the broad spectrum of needs of science and society. The graduate school is accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education.
Image of Gilberto Silva Taboada provided by the American Museum of Natural History