At a ceremony Nov. 17, 2022, in New York City, New York, the George C. Marshall Foundation Award was presented to Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th U.S. secretary of state and current director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Stanford, California.
The George C. Marshall Foundation, located at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, is a nonprofit named for Gen. George C. Marshall, Class of 1901. Marshall served as chief of staff of the U.S. Army under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. He served as secretary of state and secretary of defense under Truman. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. From its dedication to keeping the values alive that shaped and motivated Marshall, the Marshall Foundation recently recognized two distinguished Americans in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Marshall Plan at a private ceremony in New York City, New York.
The award is presented to an individual or organization that has made a significant international contribution to easing hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. The purpose of the award is to encourage and recognize significant humanitarian service, foster international economic development, create public awareness of the recipient’s accomplishments, and encourage others to emulate those good works. Recipients are selected based on a career of distinguished public/civic service in the nonpartisan tradition of Marshall, for dignity and integrity of character, and for devotion to creating and perpetuating free and democratic institutions and promoting appropriate economic development, which will allow them to flourish. Past recipients include Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Frederick W. Smith, and David Rockefeller.
According to Paul Levengood, president of the Marshall Foundation, Rice was recognized for her distinguished public service career in the tradition of Marshall, her dignity and integrity, and her commitment to education, international relations, and global peace efforts. “She has demonstrated a devotion to the institutions of individual liberty, private enterprise, and democracy, which enable human beings to prosper. Her example of determination, grace, and keen intellect has been an inspiration to all Americans,” said Levengood.
In her acceptance speech, Rice remarked, “What made it possible for Marshall to do what he did is, first and foremost, the character of the man. It was also his experience with war—to recognize that out of war could come peace and an understanding that peace had to be just; and if peace was going to be just, it meant that men and women had to live in freedom because no one deserved to live in tyranny.”
Kenneth C. Griffin, founder and chief executive officer of Citadel, an investment company headquartered in Miami, Florida, received the George C. Marshall Foundation Humanitarian Award. This award recognizes an individual or organization for their significant contributions to ameliorating hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos in the spirit of the Marshall Plan or otherwise creating conditions to improve the health and welfare of people in need of assistance. The award seeks to recognize significant humanitarian service, create public awareness of the accomplishments of the recipient individual or organization, and encourage other individuals and organizations to emulate those good works. Past recipients have been Michael Bloomberg and David Rubenstein.
“Griffin was recognized for his extensive civic and philanthropic work to expand access and opportunity in America, including his efforts to broaden access to high-quality education at every level, advance medical research, reduce criminal re-offenses and violent crime, and support our country’s world-renowned cultural institutions, as well as those who have served in the armed forces. He has excelled as a strategic thinker, a problem solver, a visionary, and a champion of human potential. Like Marshall, he has worked thoughtfully and innovatively to ensure that citizens of the American republic are better informed about the history and potential of our nation,” stated Levengood.
In his acceptance speech, Griffin advocated for a commitment to following the Marshall example, in part, by focusing on education. “Education is a key to national strength and prosperity. We should teach our students critical thinking skills instead of engaging in ‘culture wars’ in classrooms. We need to enhance our emphasis on early literacy, math, and science. Only in this way can we maintain U.S. prosperity and leadership in a rapidly changing world,” said Griffin.
Representatives from the foundation who were present at the ceremony included Levengood; John Wranek III ’85, director of development; Melissa Davis, director of library and archives; and Leigh McFaddin, associate director of development and special events. In addition, Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins ’85, VMI superintendent of VMI, and his wife, Mrs. Cassandra Wins, were in attendance, along with Col. John Brodie (Hon), VMI music director, and members of the Institute Brass.
Marianne Hause VMI Communications & Marketing