Dr. Samuel Waxman, Founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF), was one of the medalists at the 34th annual Ellis Island Medals of Honor Ceremony, hosted by the Ellis Island Honors Society (EIHS). The event, which was held in Ellis Island’s Great Hall, recognized ninety-four medalists for their leadership and service within their communities and professions while exemplifying the values of the American way of life.
Notable attendees included: Marion and Dr. Samuel Waxman, television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, award-winning recording artist Paula Abdul, former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, CNN Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, television personality Montel Williams, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, Washington Post columnist Jason Rezaian, Executive Director of the U.N. World Food Programme David Beasley, Mastercard President and CEO Ajay Banga, Ellis Island: The Dream of America composer Peter Boyer, and more.
The night began with a poignant introduction by EIHS Chairman Nasser Kazeminy and the Masters of Ceremony, journalists Marvin Scott and Tamsen Fadal.
“Tonight, we celebrate an extraordinary group of Americans. They are educators, healers, scientists, artists, thinkers and leaders of industry – all of whom are free to follow their passions and dreams to benefit America and the world,” said Nasser Kazeminy, Chairman of the Ellis Island Honors Society. “Medalists, you represent the best of America, both its glorious past and its bright future. America needs your innovation, leadership and vision.
“You can still feel the joys and sorrows of these American heroes in these hallowed halls. Who among us does not feel a sense of compassion when we think of their struggle? How can we not admire their perseverance? We must never lose that empathy. That compassionate spirit is the cornerstone of democracy and humanity.”
Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, opened the evening of honoree speeches by stating, “Openness to immigration drives everything.” Going back to his Silicon Valley roots, he pointed out that “more than half the people in Silicon Valley are foreigners…if you are open to people coming from different places, you’re bringing in the biggest and brightest.”