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University of Pennsylvania Medal for Distinguished Achievement: Raymond G. Perelman

November 1, 2011, Volume 58, No. 10

President Amy Gutmann bestowed the Medal for Distinguished Achievement on Raymond Perelman while Dr. J. Larry Jameson, Dean and EVP for UPHS (left) and Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, professor of medicine, and former dean and EVP for UPHS, applauded the honor.

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann presented prominent Philadelphia philanthropist Raymond G. Perelman with the University of Pennsylvania Medal for Distinguished Achievement, one of the University’s highest honors, at an October 26 reception celebrating the naming of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

In May, Mr. Perelman and his late wife, Ruth Perelman, donated $225 million to Penn–-the largest single gift in the University’s history—to benefit the School of Medicine (Almanac May 24, 2011). The gift represents the largest single gift to name a school of medicine in the country.

“Raymond Perelman and his beloved late wife, Ruth, embody the principle that with personal success comes the responsibility to help others improve their lives,” President Gutmann said. “Through their unceasing generosity and visionary philanthropy, they have ensured that many great Philadelphia institutions will continue to grow and prosper.

“As a member of the Penn Medicine Board of Trustees for many years,” she said, “Ray has championed the importance of advances in health-care education and innovation.  The Perelmans’ transformative gift to Penn Medicine will enable the Perelman School of Medicine to ease the burden of debt on our future physicians, continue to recruit the most eminent faculty and clinical educators and speed the pace of progress toward realizing life-saving and life-enhancing medical breakthroughs.”

The citation accompanying the medal read:

You were once quoted as saying:  “I want to do things for people. I want to give back. If you’re productive, and successful, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”  And without question, that is just what you have done. Well known as a straight-talking and highly analytic businessman, you believe that personal success comes with a responsibility to take action to improve the lives of others. And so for many decades, our community has been the beneficiary of your generous philosophy and your tremendous clarity of purpose.

Together with your much loved and greatly-missed wife, Ruth, you set about to support those who feed the soul and heal the body. At the Perelman Theater in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, many local arts entities have made that innovative space their performance home, and many thousands have gathered to celebrate unforgettable music, dance and theater. With your support, an aging art-deco landmark building adjacent to the Philadelphia Museum of Art was revived as the Perelman Building—with gallery space for the Museum’s collections as well as study and educational spaces for scholars and guests. Your family foundations are also benefactors of education and enrichment through the Perelman Jewish Day School and many other Jewish cultural and welfare organizations.

A proud Pennsylvanian, Penn parent and grandparent, you have offered your guidance for many years as a member of the Penn Medicine Board of Trustees, and you have championed the critical importance of advances in health care education and innovation. Your transformative generosity this year to create a permanent endowment for the Perelman School of Medicine will bring about significantly increased student financial aid, recruitment of outstanding medical faculty and clinician educators and innovative research programs to seek life-saving and life-enhancing breakthroughs. In addition, the Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine offers an unequaled and adaptable environment for state-of-the-art patient care and collaboration among health professionals.

Throughout your life, you have exemplified the enormous good and lasting change that grows from philanthropic leadership partnered with personal engagement. In so doing, you have helped all of us embrace what it means to work to share our gifts for the betterment of our community and our neighbors.

In recognition of your untiring efforts and immeasurable contributions to the health and well-being, education and cultural opportunities of your fellow Philadelphians and more, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania are honored to present you with this Medal for Distinguished Achievement.

Penn’s Medal for Distinguished Achievement is awarded periodically “to those individuals whose performance is in keeping with the highest goals of the University and who have contributed to the world through innovative acts of scholarship, scientific discovery, artistic creativity or societal leadership.”

Since its inception in 1993, 21 people have received the pewter medal, modeled on the silver one worn by the Penn president for ceremonial occasions, including four Nobel laureates, former US Sen. Arlen Spector and former US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

For a complete list of prior recipients see: https://secure.www.upenn.edu/secretary/Medal.html


Almanac - November 1, 2011, Volume 58, No. 10