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Lerner Receives Columbia's 1997 Hamilton Medal

Alfred Lerner, chairman and chief executive of MBNA Corporation (the second largest bank lender through credit cards) and a 1955 graduate of Columbia College, has received the 1997 Alexander Hamilton Medal, the College's highest honor. Lerner was presented with the 1997 Hamilton Medal at a formal dinner on November 20 in the Rotunda of Low Memorial Library on the Columbia campus. The annual award, which is given to current or former Columbia faculty members as well as to graduates of the College, recognizes "distinguished service and accomplishment in any field of human endeavor." It is named for the statesman of the Revolutionary period who is an alumnus of King's College, as Columbia was then known. Previous recipients include University Professor Emeritus Jacques Barzun '27C '28GSAS '32GSAS and other tenured teachers of the College's Core Curriculum; John W. Kluge '37C '88HON, the president and chairman of Metromedia Company; former University and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower '47HON; and the very first Hamilton honoree, Nicholas Murray Butler 1882C '83GSAS '84GSAS. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Hamilton Awards. A Trustee of the University since 1995, Alfred Lerner was honored both for his exemplary career and his longstanding loyalty to Columbia College. In achieving his remarkable business success, Lerner has combined a commitment to customer service with a proven sense of responsibility toward his employees. At Columbia, where he formerly served on the College Board of Visitors, Lerner has given a dramatic boost to efforts to improve the quality of student life through his gift of $25 million for construction of a new student activities center. The state- of-the-art building, which is scheduled to open in the Fall of 1999, will be named Alfred Lerner Hall. Before coming to Morningside Heights as an undergraduate, Lerner attended New York City schools and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School. In addition to his positions at MBNA, he is currently chairman and chief executive of the Baltimore-based Town and Country Trust and serves as a trustee of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Case Western Reserve University. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee to the director of the National Institutes of Health. Lerner and his wife, Norma, have two children: Nancy Lerner Carosielli and Randolph Lerner '84C '87L. Speakers at the award ceremony included Columbia President George Rupp, Columbia College Dean Austin E. Quigley, Hamilton Dinner co-chairs Robert K. Kraft '63C and James H. Berick '55C, and Alumni Association President Carlos R. Mu÷oz '57C. 11.18.97 19,232