Washington Medal of Merit

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Washington Medal of Merit
Washington Medal of Merit.jpg
Awarded by
Seal of Washington.svg
Governor of Washington
EligibilityAll persons, living or deceased, except elected officials while in office or candidates for an elected office.
Awarded for"exceptionally meritorious conduct in performing outstanding services to the people and state of Washington"
First awarded1987
Total awarded34
Next (lower)Washington Medal of Valor

The Washington Medal of Merit is one of three statutory civilian decorations issued by the state of Washington, the others being the Washington Medal of Valor and the Washington Gift of Life Award (formerly the Washington Gift of Life Medal). Washington law does not describe an order of precedence for state decorations, though the Medal of Merit is generally considered the state's highest honor.



All persons, living or dead, except elected officials and current political candidates, are eligible to receive the medal. The medal is bestowed by the Governor of Washington on the advice of the "medal of merit committee," which is composed of the governor himself, as well as the chief justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, the speaker of the Washington State House of Representatives, and the president of the Washington State Senate. The Washington Secretary of State serves as the committee's secretary. The process for nomination is not set by law, but, under current rules adopted by the committee, any person may nominate a qualified candidate through submission of a letter of nomination to the secretary of state who periodically presents received nominations to the committee for consideration.[1]

While there are no residency requirements for the Medal of Merit, all recipients to-date were either born in Washington or lived there at the time of their decoration.

Design and presentation[edit]

The Medal of Merit is made from solid bronze. In addition to the recipient's name, the reverse reads "For exceptionally meritorious conduct in performing outstanding services to the people and state of Washington." By custom, the medal is awarded by the Governor to a slate of recipients during a joint session of the Washington State Senate and Washington State House of Representatives convened for that purpose. The authorizing legislation does not specify a frequency for issuing the medal, however, it has generally been awarded with irregularity.



The Washington Medal of Merit was established by an act of the Washington Legislature in 1986 with the first medals presented after the reconvening of the legislature the following year.[2] The medal's past recipients have included three nobel laureates.











+ awarded posthumously

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Medal of Merit". sos.wa.gov. Office of the Secretary of State. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Nominees Sought for State Award". Spokane Chronicle. 11 November 1986.

External links[edit]