For safely landing US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River and saving the lives of his passengers, the Harvard Foundation will present the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award to skillful pilot and airline safety expert Chesley Sullenberger on Nov. 11 at the Memorial Church at 6 p.m.
“The students and faculty of the Harvard Foundation are honored to present the Harvard Foundation’s Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award to Chesley Sullenberger,” said S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation. “His heroic and humanitarian efforts were exemplary and appreciated by a grateful nation.”
The Harvard Foundation honors distinguished guests from throughout the world each year, ranging from heads of state to outstanding international leaders, scholars, athletes, religious leaders, artists, and others whose works and deeds have touched individuals of all backgrounds, cultures, races, and religions. Other past Harvard Foundation Humanitarian Award recipients include United Nations Secretary-Generals Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and Javier Pérez de Cuéllar; President Mary Robinson of Ireland; Nobel laureates Bishop Desmond Tutu, John Hume, and Elie Wiesel; actor and director Denzel Washington; artist R.C. Gorman; actress and AIDS activist Sharon Stone; and the surviving Navajo Code Talkers. The Harvard Foundation Humanitarian Award is named for the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, who along with former Harvard President Derek C. Bok, established the Harvard Foundation.
A U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, Sullenberger served as an instructor and Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) safety chairman, accident investigator, and national technical committee member. Recently receiving the Medal of Valor Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Calif., Sullenberger has a decade-long history of technical and academic contributions to the field of aviation safety.