The Medal for Excellence

For more than 50 years, Columbia Law School has honored members of the community with its most prestigious award.

The Medal for Excellence has been presented since 1964 to alumni and past or present faculty members who exemplify the qualities of character, intellect, and social and professional responsibility that the Law School seeks to instill in its students.​ Cabinet secretaries, judges, distinguished faculty, and civil rights advocates—past recipients of the Medal for Excellence represent exceptional members of the Columbia Law School community.

Recent Recipients

Photo Gallery

Medal for Excellence honorees

Honorees

2020 Jim Millstein ’82
2020 Franklin Thomas ’63
2019 Jonathan D. Schiller ’73
2019 Nina L. Shaw ’79
2018 Stephen Friedman ’62 
2018 Gerard E. Lynch ’75
2017 Anita Blumstein Brody ’58
2017 David J. Stern ’66*
2016 Antony J. Blinken ’88
2016 Alison S. Ressler ’83
2015 Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum ’53*
2015 Roberta A. Kaplan ’91
2014 Ira M. Millstein ’49
2014 Edgar G. Rios ’77
2013 Morton L. Janklow ’53
2013 Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. ’83
2012 Jeh Charles Johnson ’82
2012 Richard Paul Richman LAW ’72, BUS ’73
2011 Max W. Berger ’71
2011 Stephen H. Case ’68
2010 Eric H. Holder, Jr. ’76
2010 Professor Henry Paul Monaghan
2009 Steven Epstein ’68
2009 Jerome L. Greene ’28*
2008 H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest ’58*
2007 Michael E. Patterson ’67
2007 Esta Eiger Stecher ’82
2006 Wei Sun Christianson ’89
2006 Professor R. Randle Edwards
2005 Professor Louis Lowenstein ’53*
2005 Michael D. Ratner ’69*
2004 Professor E. Allan Farnsworth ’52*
2004 Stanley L. Temko ’43*
2003 Susan B. Lindenauer ’64
2003 Judith R. Thoyer ’65
2003 Judith P. Vladeck ’47*
2002 President Lee C. Bollinger Jr. ’71
2001 Dickinson R. Debevoise ’51*
2001 Harvey R. Miller ’59*
2001 Ken Tsunematsu ’63 
2000 Professor John M. Kernochan ’48*
2000 Judge Felice K. Shea ’50
1999 Professor Jack Greenberg ’48*
1999 Professor Geoffrey C. Hazard Jr. ’54*
1998 Sidney J. Sheinberg ’58*
1998 Mary Jo White ’74
1997 Marie L. Garibaldi ’59*
1997 Professor Michael I. Sovern ’55*
1996 Kathryn Austin McDonald ’63*
1996 Professor Arthur W. Murphy ’48*
1995 Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59*
1994 Giles Sutherland Rich ’29*
1994 Professor Maurice Rosenberg ’47*
1993 Hong-Choo Hyun ’69*
1993 Eugene Nickerson ’43*
1992 Vilma S. Martinez ’67 
1991 Frank C. Newman ’47 LL.M., ’53 J.S.D.*
1991 Professor Oscar Schachter ’39*
1990 Wilfred Feinberg ’43*
1990 Jack B. Weinstein ’48 
1989 Professor Harry W. Jones ’39*
1989 Professor Albert J. Rosenthal*
1988 Edith I. Spivack ’32*
1988 Morton Stavis ’36*
1987 Marvin E. Frankel ’48*
1987 Constance Baker Motley ’46*
1986 James D. Hopkins ’33*
1986 Benjamin Kaplan ’33*
1985 Professor Willis L.M. Reese*
1984 Oscar H. Davis ’37*
1984 Justin A. Stanley ’37*
1983 Wilbur H. Friedman ’30*
1982 Professor Louis Henkin*
1981 Lawrence E. Walsh ’35*
1980 Harriet F. Pilpel ’36*
1979 Harold Leventhal ’36*
1979 Carl McGowan ’36*
1978 Paul R. Hays ’33*
1978 Leonard P. Moore ’22*
1977 Philip C. Jessup ’24*
1976 Professor Milton Handler ’26*
1976 Professor Richard R.B. Powell ’14*
1975 Charles D. Breitel ’32*
1974 Clifford P. Case ’28*
1974 William T. Gossett ’28*
1973 William O. Douglas ’25*
1973 Simon H. Rifkind ’25*
1972 Stanley Reed ’09*
1971 Professor Walter Gellhorn ’31*
1971 Professor Herbert Wechsler ’31*
1970 Frank S. Hogan ’28*
1969 Dean William C. Warren*
1968 Whitney North Seymour ’23*
1967 Stanley H. Fuld ’26*
1966 Thomas E. Dewey ’25*
1965 Harold R. Medina ’12*
1964 Joseph M. Proskauer, 1899*
*Deceased