Sheldon Krimsky Fund for Environmental Ethics and Values

Sheldon Krimsky in his office
Professor Sheldon Krimsky featured in his office on Talbot Avenue, Medford, MA, Tufts University

The Sheldon Krimsky Fund for Environmental Ethics and Values was established in honor of Professor Krimsky, a beloved professor and colleague of Urban Environmental Policy and Planning for close to 50 years at Tufts University. The fund assists Urban Environmental Policy and Planning students who want to undertake research in the broad policy/planning area of environmental ethics and values. The fund also supports a new library which will house Professor Krimsky's extensive collection of books on environmental ethics and values for members of the community to share.

Donate to the FundWatch a Video about Dr. Krimsky's Legacy

If you prefer to donate via a check, payments can be written/payable to "Trustees of Tufts College" and you must note in the check's memo section: "Sheldon Krimsky Fund". Checks can be mailed to: Tufts University, PO Box 3306, Boston, MA 02241-3306.

About Sheldon Krimsky

Sheldon Krimsky with students
Professor Krimsky working with UEP graduate students in the 1980s

Dr. Krimsky, or “Shelly” to his friends, was the Lenore Stern Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and a longtime member of the Tufts community. He passed away unexpectedly on April 23, 2022. He began his more than 47-year career in the Tufts Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning in 1974. Beginning in 1997, he was also an Adjunct Professor in Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts School of Medicine, and a visiting scholar at Columbia University, Brooklyn College, the New School and New York University. He has also taught at the University of South Florida, Boston University, SUNY at Stony Brook, and Wesleyan University. Previously, he received his BS from Brooklyn College, his MS in Physics from Purdue University, and his MA and PhD in Philosophy from Boston University. 

Professor Krimsky delved into numerous scientific fields such as stem-cell research, genetic modification of food and DNA privacy. As a pioneer in his field, Professor Krimsky sought to pinpoint the dangers by focusing on the linkages between science, technology, and ethics, particularly on how they relate to public policy. “There was really no one like him: rigorous, courageous, and prolific,” said Ralph Nader in the New York Times obituary about Professor Krimsky, published on May 5, 2022. Professor Krimsky was incredibly prolific in his research and scholarship work and authored 17 books including Understanding DNA Ancestry (Cambridge University Press, 2022), GMOs Decoded (MIT Press, 2019), Science in the Private Interest (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), Hormonal Chaos (Johns Hopkins, 2000), Biotechnics and Society (Praeger, 1991), and Genetic Alchemy (MIT Press, 1982). 

There was really no one like him: rigorous, courageous, and prolific. He tried to convey the importance of democratic processes in open scientific decision making in many areas. He criticized scientific dogmas, saying that science must always leave open options for revision.

Ralph Nader

He also co-authored Environmental Hazards: Communicating Risks as a Social Process and Agricultural Biotechnology and the Environment and published more than 235 articles and essays on the regulation and social and ethical aspects of science and technology.

Photos of Sheldon Krimsky's books

Shelly served on the National Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee of NIH and chaired the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility. He was also a consultant to the Office of Technology Assessment and most recently served on the Board of Directors for the Council for Responsible Genetics. In addition, he was a Fellow of the Hastings Center on Bioethics, serving on the editorial board of seven noted journals.

Born in Brooklyn, he embraced his New York roots, eventually living part-time in Greenwich Village where he was often seen in Washington Square Park or getting his daily cup of coffee and a bagel in cafés. He also played guitar and harmonica, sometimes jamming with friends and writing and improvising songs. Fiercely loyal, kind, and supportive to family and friends, he was thoroughly devoted to teaching and to his students. “Shelly never gave up hope of a better world,” Julian Agyeman, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and Fletcher Professor of Rhetoric and Debate. “He was the consummate activist-advocate-scholar.”

Shelly's loss will be felt keenly by many who knew Shelly as a wonderful teacher, colleague, collaborator, mentor, and friend. He is survived by his beloved wife Carolyn Boriss-Krimsky, his two adored children Alyssa Krimsky Clossey, A93, and Eliot Krimsky, A01, along with their spouses Will Clossey, A93, and Lisa Benger, and his three cherished grandchildren, Benjamin Perry Clossey, A23, Andrew Krimsky Clossey, A26, and Siona Rose Krimsky.

Shelly never gave up hope of a better world. He was the consummate activist-advocate-scholar.

Julian Agyeman, Professor of UEP, Fletcher Professor of Rhetoric and Debate