Ramsey Award Recipients

2021: Professor Helen Alvaré, J.D.
Helen Alvaré is a Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, where she teaches Family Law, Law and Religion, and Property Law. She publishes on matters concerning marriage, parenting, non-marital households, and the First Amendment religion clauses. She is faculty advisor to the law school’s Civil Rights Law Journal, and the Latino/a Law Student AssociationIn addition to her books, and her publications in law reviews, and other academic journals, Professor Alvaré publishes regularly in news outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and CNN.com.


Sean Fieler, Chairman of the American Principles Project, said, “As a public intellectual and a longstanding advocate for women, Helen Alvarés opposition to commercial conception is of particular importance.”

Our Paul Ramsey Institute Scholar, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, said, “In her writing, speaking, and service to society, Helen Alvaré has been a tireless advocate and defender of the rights of women, children, the poor, and other vulnerable populations.  Through her scholarship, Professor Alvaré has made valuable contributions to family law and the ethics of reproductive technologies.”

2019: Patrick T. Smith
Dr. Smith is Associate Research Professor of Theological Ethics and Bioethics; and Senior Fellow of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. Along with his appointment at the Divinity School, Professor Smith is associate faculty with the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine.


Dr. Gilbert Meilaender of the Paul Ramsey Award Nominating Committee said of Dr. Smith’s selection, “Trained both as a philosopher and as a theologian within the black Baptist tradition, Patrick Smith integrates both kinds of expertise in a way that Paul Ramsey would surely have appreciated. Focusing especially on end-of-life issues and hospice care, Patrick has helped us reflect upon issues that are of academic importance but also reach well beyond the academy. They touch all our lives.”

Dr. Smith’s Remarks at the 2019 Ramsey Award Dinner

2018: Farr A. Curlin
Dr. Curlin is Josiah C. Trent Professor of Medical Humanities in the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities and History of Medicine, and Co-Director of the Theology, Medicine and Culture Initiative at Duke Divinity School.


Dr. Gilbert Meilaender of the Paul Ramsey Award Nominating Committee said of Dr. Curlin’s selection, “Farr Curlin’s work both as clinician and moralist exemplifies nicely a theme accented in the writings of Paul Ramsey—namely, the way in which covenant fidelity marks the practice of medicine at its best. It would be hard to find a recipient of the Ramsey prize who better reflects that covenantal understanding of medicine.”

Dr. Curlin’s Remarks at the 2018 Ramsey Award Dinner

2017: David Albert Jones
Professor Jones is Director of The Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford, England, and a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University, and a Research Fellow at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.


C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair of the Paul Ramsey Award Nominating Committee, said of Prof. Jones’ selection, “Having worked tirelessly on ‘ethics at the edges of life,’ David Albert Jones is a worthy heir of the late Paul Ramsey’s concern for those who suffer, especially those most vulnerable.”

2016: Brent Waters
Dr. Waters is the Jerre and Mary Joy Stead Professor of Christian Social Ethics, and Director of the Jerre L. and Mary Joy Center for Ethics and Values at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.


C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair of the Paul Ramsey Award Nominating Committee, said of Dr. Waters’ selection, “Professor Waters’ work is a stellar example of person-centered reflection on emerging biotechnologies and the quest for immortality. His emphasis on incarnation and persons puts him squarely in the Ramsey tradition. He is a superb candidate for this recognition.”

Dr. Waters’ Remarks at the 2016 Ramsey Award Dinner

2015: John F. Kilner
Dr. Kilner is is the Franklin Forman Chair of Ethics, Professor of Bioethics and Contemporary Culture, and the Director of the Bioethics Program at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.


CBC’s Paul Ramsey Institute Scholar Gilbert Meilaender, Ph.D., said of Dr. Kilner’s selection, “In the important effort to think in Christian terms about bioethical concerns, John Kilner has for decades been a significant figure. Both in his own writing and, perhaps even more, in his ability to draw others into shared projects John has helped us all reflect seriously on the ways in which Christian belief can respond to issues raised by clinical and research medicine.”

2014: Daniel Sulmasy
Dr. Sulmasy is the Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Ethics in the Department of Medicine and Divinity School at the University of Chicago, where he serves as Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.


CBC’s Paul Ramsey Institute Scholar William Hurlbut, M.D. said, “Dr. Sulmasy is a physician who exemplifies the best of medical tradition: conscience, competence, and compassion.”

Dr. Sulmasy’s Remarks at the 2014 Ramsey Award Dinner

2013: David Solomon
“Excellence in bioethics may be displayed in a variety of ways—through one’s writing, through one’s teaching, through development of institutions that bring ideas to a wider audience, through a firm public stand in support of the equal dignity of every human being. In each of these ways, as it happens, David Solomon has—always with good humor—made distinguished contributions to clarity and honesty in bioethics. He is surely a very deserving recipient of the 2013 Ramsey Award.” — Gilbert Meilaender, PhD
2012: Mary Ann Glendon
Prof. Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and served on the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2002 to 2005. In response to being selected the 2012 Paul Ramsey Award winner Glendon said, “I would be very glad to receive the Paul Ramsey award and am deeply honored to join the company of previous honorees whom I admire so much.”


Prof. Glendon’s Remarks at the Ramsey Award Dinner

2011: Luke Gormally
“Luke Gormally was chosen from a strong shortlist of candidates because of his outstanding contribution over many years to serious, scholarly and sound reflection on bioethical issues. He deservedly joins the distinguished array of previous Paul Ramsey Award winners, with several of whom he has engaged in very fruitful collaboration.” — John Keown, D.Phil., Ph.D.
2010: Leon R. Kass
“Leon Kass is an extraordinarily constructive and courageous voice in bioethics—a treasure to our civilization. He is the intellectual epicenter of American bioethics.” — William Hurlbut, M.D.


Leon Kass’ Remarks at the Ramsey Award Dinner

2009: Gilbert Meilaender
“Gil Meilaender is an outstanding candidate for the Ramsey Award, not least because he faithfully represents as much as anyone else the tradition of his teacher and mentor, Paul Ramsey. Ramsey’s work was by no means limited to bioethics. In fact, he was an incredibly wide-ranging ethicist and theologian. He wrote on everything from ethical theory, to just war, to the nature of love. In the same way, Gil Meilaender should not be viewed as a primarily a “bioethicist,” but as a world-class scholar who has made a stellar contribution to the multidisciplinary field of bioethics. He’s also an extraordinarily nice human being–a species becoming increasingly rare.” — C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D.


Gilbert Meilaender’s Remarks at the Ramsey Award Dinner

2008: Albert S. Moraczewski
“No one is more deserving of the Ramsey Award than Fr. Albert S. Moraczewski, O.P. A priest, scientist, ethicist, researcher, administrator, and spokesman for Catholic bioethics, Father Albert has spent his entire adult life thinking and writing about the nexus of science, medicine, biotechnology, and ethics. He was doing bioethics before it had a name. I first met Father Albert during the 1995 controversies over human gene patents. I will always appreciate his wisdom, wit, and charm. He is a delight!” — C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D.
2007: William E. May
Dr. May is the Michael J. McGivney Professor of Moral Theology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C., where he has been teaching since 1991. In 2003 Pope John Paul II appointed May as a consultor to the Congregation for the Clergy a title bestowed by the Vatican in recognition of his work. One of his most recent books is Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life (2000).
2006: John M. Finnis
John M. Finnis is Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy in the University of Oxford and Professor of Law in the University of Notre Dame. He is also Visiting Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Moral Philosophy in the Institute in Melbourne.
2005: Germain Grisez
“Not only has Professor Grisez’s scholarship been prolific, but his influence has been international. His work has inspired colleagues and students alike to look afresh at a philosophical approach which, despite is pedigree in Western and particularly Christian thought, had been sadly neglected. He has revived reflection on the contribution which natural law can make to the resolution of moral dilemmas both in bioethics and beyond. His intellectual influence is clear in the growing literature on natural law…(and) would, in short, be widely acknowledged to be a towering figure in Christian bioethics. He is an eminently suitable recipient of the 2005 Paul Ramsey Award.” — John Koewn, Ph.D.
2004: Edmund D. Pellegrino
Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D. is the John Carroll Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics at Georgetown University. He is a Master of the American College of Physicians, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Pellegrino is the former director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Center for the Advanced Study of Ethics, and is the current director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown.