Raymond R. Sackler

Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco will award Raymond R. Sackler an honorary degree at a special ceremony in June 2014.

It would be impossible to calculate how many lives you have saved, how many scientific fields you have redefined, and how many new physicians, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers are doing important work as a result of your entrepreneurial spirit. At institutions where you have made your imprint, in the United States, in England, Israel, France, and the Netherlands, new ideas about how we treat disease or understand our universe and ourselves are born every day. You are a world changer. Your philanthropy has promoted the convergence of the life, physical and engineering sciences to foster innovation. Here at Tufts, you and your brothers, Arthur and Mortimer, established the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences to seed your vision that integration across all medical disciplines is crucial for advancing health. Long before anyone understood the importance of bringing multiple perspectives to bear on the study and treatment of disease, you embraced it and helped forever change how we approach some of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. For your leadership, innovation, and generosity, Tufts is pleased to award you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

RAYMOND R. SACKLER, a physician, entrepreneur, and international philanthropist, is an ardent supporter of the arts and scientific research to improve the human condition. Well before multidisciplinarity became a prevailing theme in academia, Sackler encouraged biomedical and physical scientists to work together to bring a broad perspective to the study and treatment of disease.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Sackler earned an undergraduate degree from New York University. He began his medical studies at Anderson College of Medicine in Glasgow, Scotland, and, when World War II intervened, completed his M.D. in 1944 at Middlesex University School of Medicine, now the site of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. 

A board-certified psychiatrist and Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Sackler and his two physician brothers, Arthur M. and Mortimer D. Sackler, donated the funds to establish the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University, which was dedicated on October 7, 1981. In creating a home on Tufts’ health sciences campus in Boston for six fledgling graduate programs in the biomedical sciences—biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology and microbiology, anatomy, pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, and physiology—the Sacklers’ vision that integration across all medical disciplines was crucial for advancing health has flourished at Tufts.

For decades, Raymond Sackler has supported endeavors in theoretical and applied research in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, and biomedicine through research grants, lectureships, professorships, and institu-tional support at many of the leading universities and academic medical centers around the world. He established the Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prizes in
the Physical Sciences and in Biophysics to recognize exceptional scientists.

Internationally, Sackler and his wife, Beverly, have supported science and the arts at Cambridge University (England), Cardiff University (Wales), the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (France), Leiden University (Netherlands), Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Tel Aviv University (Israel), University of Oslo (Norway), the Israel Museum, and the Louvre, among others. In 2008, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler U.S.-U.K. Scientific Forum was endowed to promote a bilateral scientific forum that is jointly run by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States and the Royal Society in London.

For their support of the arts, the Sacklers have been recognized by the British Museum with the naming of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Wing of Ancient Near East and Egypt and, with his two brothers, the Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, which houses the Temple of Dendur and study centers for Chinese and Japanese art history.

Among his many other honors, Sackler is a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur and an Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau, the Netherlands, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II as a Knight Commander of the British Empire. In tribute to Raymond and Beverly Sackler’s generous support of research in astrophysics and astronomy, Asteroid 7690 Sackler was named in their honor in a joint citation by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Leiden University Observatory.

Tufts will award him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.