Wallenberg Medal

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Raoul Wallenberg in 1944

The Wallenberg Medal of the University of Michigan is awarded to outstanding humanitarians whose actions on behalf of the defenseless and oppressed reflect the heroic commitment and sacrifice of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest during the closing months of World War II.

Raoul Wallenberg at the University of Michigan[edit]

Encouraged by his grandfather, Gustaf Wallenberg, a diplomat and member of a prominent Swedish family of bankers, industrialists and politicians, Raoul Wallenberg came to Ann Arbor in 1931 to study architecture at the University of Michigan. Here, his grandfather believed, he could escape the isolation of the elite position of his family and would have the chance to experience the broader world.

Wallenberg wore sneakers and rode a bicycle around campus, living in a boarding house rather than the more exclusive society of the fraternities. His many friends admired his modesty, sense of humor, and insightful intelligence. As an architecture student, he was recognized for his aptitude for finding practical solutions to complex problems. In 1933 he worked in Chicago at the Swedish pavilion in Century of Progress. He spent summers hitchhiking across the US and Canada, and in 1934 drove with a friend to Mexico City in a battered Ford.

He earned his degree with honors in architecture in 1935, winning the American Institute of Architects silver medal for student with highest academic standing.

The Wallenberg Endowment[edit]

The Wallenberg Executive Committee, which includes, faculty, students and members of the Ann Arbor community, raises funds for the endowment and select the annual medalist. The Wallenberg Endowment also supports the Wallenberg Summer Travel Fellowships, awarded to University of Michigan undergraduate and graduate students who undertake civic and humanitarian work anywhere in the world.

Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning Wallenberg Scholarships[edit]

The University's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning also awards Wallenberg Scholarships to exceptional undergraduate and graduate students, many of which are given to enable students to broaden their study of architecture to include work in distant locations.

Medalists[edit]

The twentieth Wallenberg Medal was awarded in 2010 to Dr. Denis Mukwege, an obstetric/gynecological surgeon and chief of the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Mukwege has treated over 20,000 children and women who have suffered rape and sexual violence during the conflicts that have wracked the eastern Congo since 1996.

References[edit]