The Niebuhr Medal is Elmhurst College’s highest honor. Established in 1995, the Medal recognizes extraordinary service to humanity that reflects the values of Elmhurst graduates Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr, two of the 20th century’s most influential theologians. Recipients are selected by the College’s Board of Trustees or its Executive Committee.
Struck in bronze, the Niebuhr Medal features relief portraits of the Niebuhr brothers on the front. The recipient’s name and the date of the honor’s conferral are etched onto the reverse side. The Medal is three inches in diameter and rests in a cherry case with a burgundy velvet interior.
The Medal was first awarded on April 2, 1995, to Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. Subsequent Medals have honored the work of Joseph L. Bernardin, cardinal archbishop of Chicago; Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund; Lech Walesa, the first democratically elected president of Poland; Millard and Linda Fuller, co-founders of Habitat for Humanity International, author Arthur Schlesinger and Gustavo Gutiérrez, father of Liberation Theology.