The first Hugo F. Sonnenschein Medal of Excellence was presented on Class Day to Ricky Holder, AB’23. Named in honor of the University of Chicago’s 11th president, it recognizes one graduating student whose character and deeds embody the University's foundational commitment to the direct and active betterment of society at large.
The award seeks to inspire an ethos of engagement that further strengthens the University’s service to local, national and international communities.
On April 30, 1996, then-University President Sonnenschein issued a challenge to the University community in the form of a letter calling on the institution to expand its undergraduate student population.
UChicago graduates, he argued, had a responsibility to effect meaningful change in the world through “hope, respected leadership and thoughtful citizenship.” Sonnenschein’s conviction was that by expanding and enhancing undergraduate education, the University would advance the “profound worth” of transformative, liberal arts education beyond its own walls.
That vision is now recognized through a new award that bears his name. The Hugo F. Sonnenschein Medal of Excellence is the highest honor bestowed upon an undergraduate in recognition of the same qualities of its namesake: unwavering hope, ambition for others and an abiding courage of conviction.
This story was first published by UChicago News.