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Last modified: Monday, September 8, 2008

Sinor, Phillips receive IU Presidentís Medal

Sept. 9, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie has awarded emeriti faculty members Denis Sinor and Harvey Phillips with the President's Medal for Excellence. The awards are among the highest honors an IU president can bestow.

Sinor, a distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies and founder of the Denis Sinor Institute for Inner Asian Studies, and Phillips, a tuba virtuoso and distinguished professor emeritus at the IU Jacobs School of Music, received their awards on Friday, Sept. 5, in recognition of sustained excellence in service, achievement and leadership.

"Perhaps no two individuals better represent the freedom of thought and spirit that is a hallmark of IU's community of scholars," McRobbie said.

Born in Hungary in 1916, Sinor arrived at IU in 1962 and created the Department of Uralic and Altaic Studies, now Central Eurasian Studies. At IU, Sinor established two key and renowned resources for Inner Asian Studies. In 1967, he founded, and until 1981 directed, the Asian Studies Research Institute, which was renamed the Denis Sinor Institute for Inner Asian Studies in 2006. From 1963 to 1988 he was director of the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, the only one of its kind in the country.

Through scores of publications, articles, reviews and encyclopedia entries, Sinor worked to promote an appreciation of Inner Asia beyond its geographical and political neighbors, China and Russia. His presence at IU has made the university the leading center in the world for Inner Asian and Central Eurasian Studies.

Harvey Phillips

Harvey Phillips

Print-Quality Photo

In June, Phillips became the first brass player to be inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. The world's most renowned tuba player, he transformed the repertoire for the instrument, commissioning more than 200 works for tuba and inspiring composers to write serious music for solo tuba.

Born in 1929 in rural Missouri, he joined IU's music faculty in 1971. Two years later, he organized the first TubaChristmas concert, which was held on the ice rink at New York City's Rockefeller Center. The event now is held in cities worldwide. That same year, he organized the first Octubafest, an annual celebration of the tuba that takes place at venues across the country, including at Phillips' own Tuba Ranch, located south of Bloomington.

The President's Medal for Excellence is a reproduction in fine silver of the symbolic jewel of office worn by the president at ceremonial occasions. Criteria for recipients include distinction in public service, service to IU, achievement in a profession, and/or extraordinary merit and achievement in the arts, humanities, science, education and industry.

The award was first presented on Sept. 20, 1985, to members of the Beaux Arts Trio. For a complete list of winners, go to: medal list.shtml.