Boyer Named a Recipient of This Year’s Ellis Island Medal of Honor
In recognition of his orchestral work Ellis Island: The Dream of America, Professor of Music Peter Boyer has been selected as one of the recipients of the 34th Ellis Island Medals of Honor.
The annual medal is given to a selection of 100 Americans whose accomplishments in their field and inspired service to the nation are worthy of commendation.
The Helen Smith Chair in Music at the university, Boyer will join with his fellow recipients—including Executive Director of the U.N. World Food Programme David Beasley, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, and former Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt—for this year’s award ceremony on May 11 held on Ellis Island located in Upper New York Bay.
Upon hearing of the announcement, Boyer expressed both his surprise and gratitude to the selection committee.
“I am truly overwhelmed to learn that I will be receiving the Ellis Island Medal of Honor,” he said. “I’ve long been aware of the many distinguished Americans who have received this special recognition, and it’s touching to learn that I will join this group.”
Since the medal was founded in 1986, the Ellis Island Honors Society has honored a diverse selection of honorees (including seven U.S. presidents) whose careers celebrate the American ideals of opportunity and possibility.
As he prepared to compose Ellis Island: The Dream of America, Boyer said that he conducted extensive research in 2001 and 2002 on the immigrant experience at Ellis Island through the Ellis Island Oral History Project.
“I never could have imagined then that I would one day return to this historic location for this extraordinary honor,” said Boyer. “I’m most grateful to the Society’s Chair, Nasser Kazeminy, and all the members of [its] board for their support, which is deeply meaningful to me.”