May 3, NEW YORK, NY –
Today, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations – NECO, announced
recipients for the 2017 Ellis Island Medals of Honor. Vice President &
Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer of J.M. Huber
Corporation Robert Currie, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, CEO of PepsiCo
Indra Nooyi, TV host and journalist Fareed Zakaria, CEO of HSN Mindy
Grossman, former actress and film studio executive Sherry Lansing, chef
and restaurateur Thomas Keller, are amongst the one-hundred outstanding
Americans in business, government, medicine, art and education, will
receive the 2017 medal.
Robert ‘Bob’ Currie is a respected leader in the philanthropic and
cultural heritage community. Some of the many programs he has led or
supported include, the Children’s Aid Society of New York, the British
Soldiers Fund, the USO and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. In
response to Hurricane Katrina, Currie produced "No One is Alone: A
Concert for Hope," which raised funds to support emergency relief
efforts in the Gulf Coast. He was also actively involved in Superstorm
Sandy relief efforts.
From 1993 to 2002, he served as Chairman of the Ethnic Advisory Council
for the State of New Jersey. Robert was appointed by Governor Whitman to
the NJ Advisory Committee on the Preservation and Use of Ellis Island in
1998. In 2000, the committee's work developed into the Save Ellis Island
Foundation where Mr. Currie currently serves as Director and Secretary.
Robert is responsible for all aspects of internal and external
communications, including employee communications, public relations, and
crisis communications for the J.M. Huber Corporation.
In its 31st year, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor ceremony will once
again be held on Ellis Island starting at 6:30pm on May 13. The ceremony
will be followed by a black-tie Gala Dinner in the historic Great Hall,
the original registry room and gateway for 12 million immigrants to the
“Ellis Island remains an iconic symbol of hope, new beginnings and
freedom. NECO’s Medals of Honor stand to remind citizens to support
ethnic inclusion, diversity and pursuit of the American Dream for all,
something especially needed in the current political climate,” said
Nasser J. Kazeminy, Chairman of NECO.
The medal recognizes individuals who have made it their mission to share
with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable
courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity;
all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they
uphold the ideals and spirit of America. Since the Medal was founded in
1986, NECO has honored such distinguished and diverse Americans
including: seven Presidents of the United States; Nobel Prize recipient
Elie Wiesel, Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell, Justice
Sandra Day O’Connor, Secretaries of State, Madeline Albright,
Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali, Frank
Sinatra, Rosa Parks, Yue-Sai Kan, Mike Wallace and Mia Farrow, all of
whom have distinguished themselves through their significant
philanthropic and humanitarian contributions to this country.
“I am honored to be joining such a distinguished list of leaders
representing all corners of the globe,” said Currie. “I must admit to
having a unique affinity with this special place ever since Governor
Whitman asked me to join her Advisory Committee on developing best
practices to help secure the stabilization and preservation of the many
buildings on the South Side of Ellis Island.”
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among the nation’s most renowned
awards. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have officially
recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, and each year the
recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.