Celebrates Dr. Larry Nucci as 2020 “Sandy Award” Recipient

08.11.2020 ,

By Arthur Schwartz, President

On behalf of our board and staff, please join me as we recognize and celebrate our 2020 “Sandy Award” recipient – Dr. Larry Nucci.


The “Sandy Award,” named after Sanford N. McDonnell,’s founding Chairman, is given each year to an individual for lifetime achievement in the field of character education.


Currently a faculty member at UC-Berkeley, I have known Larry for over 20 years. Decades ago, I cited Larry’s research in my own dissertation. His book Education in the Moral Domain is a field-building classic, and his Handbook of Moral and Character Education (co-edited with Darcia Narvaez) combines landmark articles of unparalleled breadth and depth.


I encourage you to watch (or read) three of Larry’s colleagues reflect on his many contributions. Their tributes are meaningful and heartfelt.


I have always thought about Larry’s scholarship in metaphorical terms. He is one of our field’s chief engineers. Imagine a car engine. It takes an engineer to figure out how the pistons, spark plugs, cylinder, crankshaft, and valves all work together.


Well, it takes the mindset of an engineer to figure out how the character development system works and congeals. Far more complicated than a car engine, this system must accommodate so many different variables and moving pieces: the physical, cognitive, and emotional development of children and teens; the critical importance of caring and supporting environments (families, schools, communities); and how these environments combust to provide opportunities for children and teens to learn and practice goodness-in-action.


Over the course of his professional life Larry Nucci has boldly been mapping this moral domain. He is one of our field’s pioneers.


Larry, my hope is that future generations of educators will follow your roadmap – especially your courageous call for educators to provide ample opportunities for students to consistently practice and demonstrate their civic character. Your challenge to us is perfectly captured in the title of your 2008 book: Nice is Not Enough.