Union Medal

Instituted in 1981 as a means of honoring individuals whose lives reflect the mission of the Seminary in the world, the Union Medal is the Seminary’s highest award. Past medalists include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Vice President Al Gore, and Judith and Bill Moyers.

2021 Union Medal Recipients

Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock, M.Div. ’94, Ph.D. ’06

Baptist minister, scholar and theologian, civil rights activist, public advocate, and Senator for the State of Georga.

Past Union Medal Recipients

2019

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993

2018

Dolores Huerta
Iconic labor activist, immigration reformer, and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union; 2012 of the Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

Dr. Dhyanchand Carr
Pioneering scholar-activist whose work on Dalit theology has raised awareness about injustices based on caste, race, and class

2017

Thich Nhat Hanh ’63
Internationally celebrated Zen Buddhist monk, dharma teacher, scholar, author, and peace activist

Rev. Charles M. Sherrod ’66
Civil rights activist and Freedom Ride organizer; co-founder of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Albany Movement

Shirley M. Sherrod
Agricultural advocate; Director of Rural Development for the State of Georgia (USDA)

2016

Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon ’83
First African American woman ordained in the United Presbyterian Church (USA), Annie Scales Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Presbyterian Seminary

Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian
Civil rights activist and spiritual leader; 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient; Board Member, BASIC Diversity, Inc.

2015

Mandy Carter
Human rights activist, public policy advocate, and grassroots organizer; co-founder of Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)

Hon. Al Gore
Advocate and activist for solving the climate crisis; former Vice President of the United States

2011

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid
Advocate for women and youth health and empowerment; former Executive Direction of the United Nations Population Fund

Daniel E. Pellegrom ’69
Advocate and activist for reproductive health and President of Pathfinder International

2006

Ophelia Dahl
Global health activist and co-founder of Partners in Health

Paul Farmer, M.D.
Global health activist and co-founder of Partners in Health

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Church leader and human rights advocate

2005

Bill Moyers
Award-winning television journalist; prophetic voice for democratic ideals, separation of church and state, and freedom of the press

Judith Davidson Moyers
Educator, writer, editor, television producer and advocate for children

Anne Hale Johnson ’56
Philanthropist and social activist

2003

Rev. Dr. William Sloane Coffin ’52
Pastor, preacher, activist and conscience of the nation

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie
Pastor, author, journalist and role model for women in ministry

2001

Rev. Dr. Ko Chun-Beng (C. M. Kao)
Church leader and human rights advocate in Taiwan

1999

Rev. Dr. George William Webber ’48, ’64
Theologian and mentor for clergy in urban ministry through the East Harlem Protestant Parish

Dr. Marian Wright Edelman
Social activist and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund

1995

Dr. Helmut Reihlen
Business leader; Evangelical Synod president; leader in effort to preserve the memory of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

1994

Bishop K. H. Ting ’48
Theologian and Christian community leader in the People’s Republic of China

Kim Dae-Jung
Leader in the struggle for the democratization and re-unification of Korea

1992

Katherine Womeldorf Paterson ’62
Distinguished author of children’s books and missionary

Maestro Christoph Von Dohnányi
Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra and nephew of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Maestro Kurt Masur
Music Director of the New York Philharmonic and leader in the German re-unification effort

1991

Rev. Dr. Donald W. Shriver, Jr.
Ethicist, author, teacher, and thirteenth president of Union Seminary

Dr. Peggy A. L. Shriver
Author and church leader

1990

Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak
South African anti-apartheid activist, theologian and author

1989

Dr. Richard Freiherr von Weizsäcker
President of the Federal Republic of Germany

1988

Rosalind E. Havemeyer
Benefactor and first female Chair of the Board, Union Seminary 1969-75

Pamela Ilott
Vice President for Religious and Cultural Affairs, CBS

1987

Rev. Dr. John Knox, Sr.
Baldwin Professor Emeritus of Sacred Literature

Dr. Darlene Nicgorski
Sanctuary Movement activist

Rev. John M. Fife
Sanctuary Movement activist

George Macleod (the Very Reverend the Lord Macleod of Fuinary)
Founder of Scotland’s Iona Community

1986

Rev. Dr. John C. Bennett ’27
Christian social ethicist and eleventh president of Union Seminary

Anne McGrew Bennett
Peace activist and feminist theologian

1984

Rev. Gardner Taylor
Leading American preacher

Dr. Eberhard Bethge
Colleague and biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

1983

Rev. Rachel Henderlite
Educator; first woman ordained by the Presbyterian Church, USA

Dr. Okgill Kim
President Emerita of Ewha Women’s University, Korea

1982

Hon. George Kennan
Diplomat and scholar

Hon. Andrew Young
Political Leader and diplomat

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