EIHS Hosts 35th Annual Ellis Island Medals of Honor Gala
2022 Medalists Include SiriusXM Founder Martine Rothblatt, Actor Nazanin Boniadi, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Founder Nancy Brinker, Professional Golfer Juan “Chi Chi” Rodriguez, Theater Producer Bonnie Comley, Former NASA Astronaut Michael Massimino And More
May 15, 2022, NEW YORK, NY – Last night, the Ellis Island Honors Society (EIHS) hosted the 35th Annual Ellis Island Medals of Honor ceremony, where 85 medalists were recognized for their leadership and service within their communities and professions while exemplifying the values of the American way of life.
The black-tie gala was held in Ellis Island’s Great Hall, the original registry room and gateway for 12 million immigrants to the U.S. The 2022 medalists received and celebrated their awards in front of an iconic view of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.
The 35th Annual Ellis Island Medals of Honor ceremony included: Chairman & CEO of United Therapeutics Corporation and Founder of SiriusXM, Martine Rothblatt; Actor, Nazanin Boniadi; Founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Nancy Brinker.
Global Customer Director at The Coca-Cola Company, Sarah Beth Brown; celebrity hairstylist, Martino Cartier; Actor, Comedienne, Author, and Motivational Speaker, Kathy Buckley; Tony Award-Winning Producer, Bonnie Comley; California Congressman, Salud Carbajal; Philanthropists, Howard and Wendy Cox; Co-Chairman & CEO of Monarch Casino, John Farahi; Mechanical Engineering Professor and Astronaut, Michael Massimino.
Vice-Chairman of UBS America, Edward Montero; Professional Golfer and Founder of Chi Chi Rodriguez Management Group, Juan ‘Chi Chi’ Rodriguez; Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command, General Michael Garrett; former United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson; and Chairman & CEO, RingCentral, Vlad Shmunis among others.
To see the full list of 2022 recipients, please visit: http://medalists.eihonors.org/
The evening commenced with an introduction from co-masters of ceremony, Marvin Scott and Jill Nicolini of WPIX, followed by opening remarks from EIHS chairman Nasser Kazeminy. “This year’s distinguished medalists come from a range of industries and backgrounds,” Kazeminy shared.
“We honor them, not for where they came from, but for what they bring to our great nation. Each of them represents a thread from which the fabric of this great nation is woven. A fabric rich in color and diversity and incapable of being torn apart.”
Additional speakers included medalists General Michael Garrett, Nancy Brinker, Jeh Johnson, Nazanin Boniadi, Vlad Shmunis, Edward Montero, and Martine Rothblatt.
Nazanin Boniadi reflected on what Ellis Island represents in 2022 in particular, sharing, “It doesn’t escape me… how important it is that the promise of Ellis Island lives on. Especially for the people who are caught between a homeland where their lives are at risk and an international community that rejects them.”
Likewise, Martine Rothblatt spoke on lessons learned by her immigrant ancestors sharing, “never to give up, to be persistent, to keep trying because if you do not give up, you will succeed and that’s the lesson of immigrants in America.”
Concluding the evening, Ukrainian-born Vlad Shmunis, spoke about his hopes for the future. “We would like to simply wish that this country and this spirit and this humanity continues for a long, long time so our children, grandchildren, and many generations afterward can experience this very wonderful place of America.”
Following the event, guests were ferried back to Manhattan as fireworks lit up the sky in their honor.
For over 35 years, the Ellis Island Honors Society has been fostering tolerance, respect, and understanding among diverse religious, ethnic, and cultural groups by celebrating distinguished Americans of immigrant descent and others of remarkable character for their contributions to the world.
EIHS is a 501(c)3 non-profit, which, in addition to presenting the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, is a humanitarian organization supporting educational opportunities for students with immigrant heritage and preserving the Ellis Island National Monument.
Since the Medal was founded in 1986, EIHS has honored distinguished and diverse Americans including Presidents of the United States; Nobel Prize recipient Elie Wiesel; Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell; Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Secretaries of State Madeline Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton; Albert II, Prince of Monaco; Bob Hope; Muhammad Ali; Frank Sinatra; Rosa Parks; Mike Wallace, and Oscar-winning actress Rita Moreno.
All have distinguished themselves through their significant philanthropic and humanitarian contributions to this country.
The Ellis Island Medals of Honor ranks among the nation’s most renowned awards. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have officially recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, and each year the recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.
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About Ellis Island Honors Society
The Ellis Island Honors Society was created on its founders’ profound conviction that the diversity of the American people is what makes this nation great. EIHS’ mission includes a commitment to honoring and preserving the nation’s racial and cultural diversity and fostering tolerance, respect, and understanding among religious and ethnic groups.
In support of these goals, in 1986, EIHS began awarding the Ellis Island Medal of Honor to individuals of immigrant descent and others of distinguished character 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.
In addition to honoring and promoting examples of immigrant contributions to the United States, the Ellis Island Honors Society supports the preservation of the Ellis Island National Monument, ensuring this gateway of hope is available for future generations of visitors.
Ellis Island Honors Society also supports the education of students with immigrant heritage and raises funds for culturally-focused events, emergency relief, and humanitarian programs by mobilizing its community of Ellis Island Honor Recipients.
Nazanin Boniadi is honored at the 35th Anniversary Ellis Island Medals of Honor at Ellis Island on May 14, 2022, in New York City.
Chi-Chi Rodriguez is honored at the 35th Anniversary Ellis Island Medals of Honor at Ellis Island on May 14, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
Astronaut Michael J. Massimino is honored at the 35th Anniversary Ellis Island Medals of Honor at Ellis Island on May 14, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)