Thursday, April 25, 2013


The following appeared recently on The Hartt School website.


Hartt alumnus Steven Ortiz (Masters of Music Education, Instrumental Conducting, class of 2009) has been selected as a 2013 Recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.  Ortiz will receive his award on Saturday, May 11, on historic Ellis Island during a weekend-long celebration, and is the first Costa Rican-American to receive this honor in the award’s 27-year history.
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among our nation’s most prestigious honors.  Each year, Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients are listed in the Congressional Record, honoring those who have made enduring contributions to our nation and to the world.  Past recipients include Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and notable figures such as Rosa Parks, Cesar E. Chavez, Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, Itzhak Perlman, Joe DiMaggio, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Bob Hope, Quincy Jones, Mickey Mantle, and many other distinguished entertainers, prominent religious figures, successful entrepreneurs, senators, congressmen, and military personnel.
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is presented to an individual who lives a life dedicated to helping others, and preserves and celebrates the history, traditions, and values of their ancestry group while proving themselves valuable citizens of the United States.  These individuals strive for tolerance and acceptance between ethnic, racial, and religious groups in the United States and abroad and, above all, these individuals share their personal and/or professional gifts for the benefit of humanity.
Ortiz said of the recognition, “I am beyond humbled to have been selected to receive such an honor.  I give much honor and respect to all those who have provided me with guidance and mentorship through the years.  I am especially thankful to the City of Danbury, Waterworks, Park Avenue School, Western Connecticut State University, The University of Hartford, the Massachusetts Air National Guard, DHS Track Coach Rob Murray, Lt. Matt McNally and Officer David Antedomenico of the Danbury Police Explorers, US Airways’ Captain Edward Stromski, and Andover (MA) Police Officer Charles Edgerly…every single day I put into practice the many things you have taught me.  By touching my life, you have exponentially made a difference in this world…“thank you.  To all, I hope I bring honor to our affiliation with this good news.”
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Posted by Michael Menapace ('93)

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