Five alumni to be honored for their service to Yale at annual assembly

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Since 1952, the Yale Medal has been presented to 298 individuals.

Five individuals have been selected by the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA) to receive the 2014 Yale Medal at the AYA Assembly LXXIV in November. This year’s recipients are Sherry Agar ’82; Edward P. Bass ’67, ’68 B.S., ’72 Arch., ’01 M.A.H.; Marv Berenblum ’56; Michael Madison ’83; and John M.R. Thomas ’80.

Inaugurated in 1952, the Yale Medal is the highest award presented by the Association of Yale Alumni and is conferred solely to recognize and honor outstanding individual service to the university.  Since its inception, the Yale Medal has been presented to 298 individuals, all of whom both showed devotion to the ideals of the university, and also demonstrated their support of Yale through exemplary service on behalf of Yale as a whole or one of its many schools, institutes, or programs.

The citations for this year’s medalists follow:

Sherry Agar ’82 has demonstrated her devotion for Yale in the numerous ways that she has served her alma mater. Her contributions extend throughout the university, from serving on the AYA Board of Governors to the Yale Glee Club Associates Board to the Class of 1982 25th reunion planning committee. In her five-year presidency of the Yale Alumni Chorus Foundation she planned tours to destinations in three continents leading hundreds of volunteers. As president of the Whim ‘n Rhythm Alumnae Association she is developing outreach programs to increase alumnae involvement with undergrads, digitizing Whim arrangements and albums, and producing the first history of Whim. Her passion for Yale music has enriched the lives of many, as she has hosted numerous events for six different a cappella groups in her home, including alumnae dinners for New Blue and Whim ‘n Rhythm, where alumni get to sing with current undergraduates.

Edward P. Bass ’67, ’68 B.S., ’72 Arch., ’01 M.A.H. is one of Yale’s consummate and most inspirational volunteer leaders. From 2001 to 2013, he served as a fellow of the Yale Corporation, and as senior fellow from 2011 to 2013. During his ongoing service on the Corporation’s Buildings and Grounds Committee, he has contributed many important insights to the renovation of the campus and the design of new buildings. He served as co-chair of the Yale Tomorrow Campaign and chair of the Corporation’s Development and Alumni Affairs Committee.  Currently, he serves as co-chair of the Yale Development Council, member and founding chair of the External Advisory Board of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, member and founding co-chair of the Leadership Council of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, member of the Peabody Museum Leadership Council, and member of the Yale School of Architecture Dean’s Council. He is a former member of the University Council and chaired its Committee on the Peabody Museum.

Marv Berenblum ’56 is a true and devoted volunteer for Yale. He recently oversaw the successful planning and launch of Yale Alumni College, an initiative that gives members of the Yale alumni communities the opportunity to take seminars led by Yale professors, active and emeriti. He has served as an executive officer of the AYA Board of Governors, and as president of the Yale Glee Club Associates and of the Yale Alumni Association of Greenwich. In addition he has produced the Yale Global Alumni Leadership Exchange (YaleGALE) trips to Israel, France, and the Baltics, and has been an active participant in many of the YaleGALE programs along with the Yale Alumni Chorus trips abroad. He also has spearheaded partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich, New Haven and Harlem for the Yale Day of Service. he serves currently as chair of the Alumni College, and as president of the AYA Board’s Advisory Council.

Michael Madison ’83 has shown exceptional commitment to Yale. He has brought endless time, passion, and insight to his Yale volunteer activities. He has been active in a range of Yale volunteer endeavors, in leadership roles in clubs in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Pittsburgh; as reunion co-chair for his class; and as an inspiring leader of the AYA Board of Governors. He served on the AYA Board from 2004 until 2014 and as chair of the board from 2010 to 2012. During his tenure as chair, he launched a global strategic planning process and led development of the AYA’s current Strategic Plan, titled “Ambassadors in Action.” He also served Yale in a visible and successful role as alumni counselor to the Search Committee for Yale’s new president. Through his leadership and wise counsel, he has made the AYA a better and stronger organization, benefiting the university, its alumni, and the communities they serve.

John M.R. Thomas (Jack) ’80 has been an active volunteer on behalf of his class and Yale, including chair of agents for his class, a position he has held for over 25 years. He has co-chaired all of his Class Reunions, and has served several terms on the Alumni Fund Board, Executive Committee, and Nominating Committee. As chair of the Alumni Fund, he spent countless hours with boundless energy and enthusiasm leading alumni volunteers to raise funds for Yale. In addition, he has served as ex-officio to the Association of Yale Alumni, Yale Corporation Development Committee, University Council, and Yale Tomorrow capital Campaign Development Committee. An active member of Yale GALA for many years, he served on the planning committee for Yale’s Second LGBT Reunion. He and his husband, Bruce Payne ’65 M.A., live in New York City and New Haven.

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