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Undergraduate Peterfreund Prize

The $1,000 award recognizes keen interest in philosophical questions and outstanding work in philosophy courses. The award is named in memory of Professor Sheldon P. Peterfreund. Shel Peterfreund taught in the Philosophy Department at Syracuse University for more than forty years, teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses. The text he co-authored with Ted Denise, Great Traditions in Ethics, is one of the most widely used, and one of the longest in publication, in any subject. (The first edition appeared in 1953, and it is now in its twelfth edition.) Tina Peterfreund has endowed this award in his memory, and it will be awarded annually to an outstanding junior who exhibits the kind of excellence that Shel Peterfreund nurtured during his career here.

Advice to students who are interested in being considered for the award: Because the process is initiated by nominations, there is no application for the award. Faculty will be encouraged to make nominations in February. Each student who is nominated will be asked to submit at least one philosophical paper and a brief statement explaining his or her philosophical interests and plans for philosophic study during the Senior year.


Syracuse University juniors who have studied philosophy at Syracuse University are eligible for nomination; to receive the award a student must return to Syracuse University for the senior year. Nominees and recipients of the prize need not be Philosophy Majors or Minors.


The prize will be awarded to the nominee whose past accomplishment shows the greatest potential for philosophical achievement during the Senior year.

Specific criteria will include but not be limited to the following:

  • demonstrated mastery of some philosophical literature
  • ability to construct and present clear and forceful philosophical arguments
  • originality and creativity of philosophical thought
  • depth and breadth of philosophical understanding
  • skill and style as a writer of philosophy

The criteria will be applied in a way that is appropriate to the task of evaluating junior year undergraduate students of philosophy.


Any member of the Philosophy Department faculty or teaching staff, including TAs and PTIs, may nominate one or more students as candidates for the Prize. Nominations will be solicited by the Department Chair during the spring term. Nominations need not be seconded, but nominators are free to include additional supporting letters with their nominations if they wish to do so. In their letters, nominators should describe the context in which they have known the nominee and their reasons for regarding him or her as deserving of such recognition.


All students who have been nominated will be notified by letter and invited to submit, within two weeks, materials in support of their candidacy. The materials should include at least one philosophical paper written by the candidate and a brief statement by the candidate explaining his or her philosophical interests and plans for philosophic study during the Senior year. The Chair of the department will appoint a Selection Committee that includes at least three faculty members of the Philosophy Department. The Committee will evaluate every nominee who has submitted supporting materials as described above, and will select the candidate who best satisfies the criteria for the prize.

The decision of the Selection Committee will be binding and final once reported to the Department Chair.

2014 Peterfreund Prize Winners - Alexander B. Fernandez and Alexander Sammartino

Recipients of the Sheldon P. Peterfreund Award

  • Lori Eisenberg - 1997
  • David K. Moore - 1998
  • Hector Fadraga - 1999
  • Nita E. Castillo - 2000
  • Rachael Briggs - 2001
  • Kevin Selhi and Douglas Weck - 2002
  • Zachary Sparer - 2003
  • Douglas Watson - 2004
  • Anthony Mainolfi - 2005
  • Alex D. Coon - 2006
  • Christopher T. Lloyd - 2007
  • Ilona Savich - 2008
  • Jeremy J. Prettyman - 2009
  • Peter Finocchiaro - 2010
  • Kathryn Brophy - 2011
  • Joshua S. Lynn - 2012
  • Brooke Baerman - 2013
  • Alexander Sammartino/Alexander B. Fernandez - 2014
  • Adeyemi A. Adediran - 2015
  • Yalun Li - 2016
  • Miquon Jackson - 2017
  • Nordia Mullings - 2018