Annual award recognizes scientific accomplishments and service to the nation
Cumrun Vafa, the Donner Professor of Science and world-renowned physicist, was among the recipients of the 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor earlier this month.
Created in 1986 and today recognized by both the House and Senate as one of the nation’s most prestigious awards, the medals are presented each year on historic Ellis Island to a select group of individuals to recognize their accomplishments in their field and inspired service to the nation.
The Ellis Island Medals of Honor embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity. They recognize individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity; all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America.
Past winners of the medal include six Presidents of the United States; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as esteemed Americans such as Frank Sinatra, Lee Iacocca, Quincy Jones, Muhammad Ali, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, Louis Zamperini and Rosa Parks, just to name a few.