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For the past three years, the Program in Mathematics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, has, in coordination with its colloquium series, held a Columbus Day Symposium. Each year, the all day event has been focused on a particular theme in mathematics education, and has brought in various speakers and leaders in the field to share their work and insights. This has included a presentation of an award to a scholar who has made significant contributions to the field. This year, Dr. Geoffrey Howson received this award. Throughout his career, Dr. Howson has written, edited, and contributed to many important books and papers on mathematics, education and mathematics education. Among other things, he has also served as President of the Mathematical Association of Great Britain, and Secretary-General of ICMI. The theme for the symposium this past year was the teaching of the mathematically gifted, and Dr. Howson has also made contributions in this area. The following is an edited version of the remarks he gave at the Columbus Day Symposium.