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Report on the latest Butler Medal recipients

Beginning in 1914, Nicholas Murray Butler Medals -- in bronze, silver and gold -- have been awarded every five years for contributions to philosophy and education.

In addition, today's Butler Medals commemorate the former Columbia president for whom they were named.

In his 1931 Nobel Peace Prize presentation, Nicholas Butler was lauded for his "tireless energy and a zeal almost without parallel." Today's medal recipients are judged to have enhanced the vitality of university life through a similar passion and commitment.

In keeping with these traditions, a ceremony held last month at the home of Columbia University president Lee C. Bollinger bestowed silver medals on three individuals who have made distinguished contributions to Columbia: Schuyler Chapin, an Emmy award-winning producer and activist in the arts community of New York City; Kenneth Jackson, Jacques Barzun Professor of History and the Social Sciences at Columbia; and Henry L. King, senior counsel at Davis Polk & Wardwell and a Columbia Trustee Emeritus.

"Columbia has continued the tradition of the Butler Medal in honor of the high standards of education and leadership that Nicholas Murray Butler set for the University so many years ago," remarked Bollinger. "The honorees embody those standards and their accomplishments have left an indelible mark on the University's rich history."

Schuyler Chapin was recognized for his contributions to the arts on Columbia's campus. As Dean Emeritus of Columbia's School of the Arts (SOA), he played an active role in the University's establishment of graduate programs in the arts. Under his watch, SOA's enrollment more than doubled.

Kenneth Jackson was recognized for his work on "Columbia 250," the University's anniversary celebration held in 2004. An urban and social historian and former president of the New York Historical Society, Jackson worked for more than seven years to bring his vision of the anniversary celebration to life.

Henry L. King, an alumnus of Columbia College, class of 1948, was likewise recognized for his work on " Columbia 250," along with his many years of service to the University. He is a past president of both the Columbia College Alumni Association and of the Columbia University Alumni Federation. Joining the University Trustees in 1983, he served for 12 years, the last three as chair.

"I am proud to be associated with a university as rich in tradition and excellence as Columbia," said King, summing up the feelings of all three medal recipients. "It is an honor to receive the Butler Medal, particularly because of my longstanding relationship with Columbia. Nicholas Murray Butler was an exemplary president, whose leadership has continued to the present day."

Current trustees Marilyn Laurie and Joan Spero presided over the ceremony on behalf of the entire board.

Butler biographer Michael Rosenthal was a guest of honor at the presentation.


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Published: Jan 30, 2006
Last modified: Jan 30, 2006