One of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies, the academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities and culture, and education.
"I'm completely overwhelmed by this," said Benfey. "The academy is a great organization, this is a tremendous honor, and the other new members are stunning. "
Benfey joins some of the world's most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts in this year’s selection to the academy. Members of the 2012 class include winners of the National Medal of Science, the Lasker Award, the Pulitzer and the Shaw prizes, the Fields Medal; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; the Kennedy Center Honors; Grammy, Emmy, Academy, and Tony awards; the Avery Fisher Prize, and election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"Election to the academy is both an honor for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve," said President Leslie C. Berlowitz. "We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day."
The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 6, at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.