NCSE is pleased to announce the winner of the Friend of Darwin award for 2011: Niles Eldredge. In a March 21, 2011, press release announcing the award, NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott explained, "Niles was there before there was an NCSE and he has never flagged in his support for NCSE over the many decades. Just as important: Niles has been a devoted advocate for evolution education and for keeping the creationists out of the science class." Eldredge received his award at a gala dinner in New York City on March 22, 2011.
Curator of the Division of Paleontology at American Museum of Natural History, Eldredge is renowned for his development, with Stephen Jay Gould, of the idea of punctuated equilibrium. But his contributions to the cause of evolution education — including organizing the AMNH's acclaimed exhibit celebrating the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of On the Origin of Species, writing the impassioned The Triumph of Evolution: And the Failure of Creationism (2000), and serving as the founding co-editor-in-chief of the journal Evolution: Education and Outreach — are also immense.
Eldredge joins Bruce Alberts, Susan Epperson, Robert T. Pennock, Randy Moore, Brandon Haught, Steve Rissing, Howard Van Till, Philip Appleman, Patricia Princehouse, Betty McCollister, Michael Zimmerman, and the eleven plaintiffs of Kitzmiller v. Dover, to name a few, as NCSE's Friends of Darwin. The Friend of Darwin award is presented annually to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its goal of defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools have been truly outstanding.