At the August 2000 meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Dr. James L. McClelland and Dr. Robert J. Glushko presented the initial plan to honor the intellectual contributions of David E. Rumelhart to cognitive science by awarding an annual prize of $100,000 funded by the Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson Foundation. McClelland was a close collaborator of Rumelhart, and together they had written numerous articles and books on parallel distributed processing. Glushko, who had been Rumelhart’s PhD student in the late 1970s and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur in the 1990s, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Califonria, Berkeley. Rumelhart had just retired from Stanford University in 1998, suffering from Pick’s disease, a degenerative neurological illness. The David E. Rumelhart prize was conceived to honor outstanding research in formal approaches to human cognition. Rumelhart’s own seminal contributions to cognitive science included both connectionist and symbolic models, employing both computational and mathematical tools. These contributions progressed from his early work on analogies and story grammars to the development of back-propagation and the use of parallel, distributed processing to model various cognitive abilities. Critically, Rumelhart believed that future progress in cognitive science would depend upon researchers being able to develop rigorous, formal theories of mental structures and processes.