The Presidential Scholars Foundation named four outstanding members of our community as honorees who were recognized at the Third Annual Presidential Scholars Honors celebration on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

The 2019 Roosevelt “Rosey” Thompson Honorees

The Roosevelt “Rosey” Thompson award was created to honor the memory of Rosey Thompson, a 1980 Presidential Scholar. Each year we will honor Rosey’s commitment to excellence in public service by choosing exceptional Presidential Scholars alumni who embody the outstanding qualities of civil service that Rosey exemplified daily.


Dr. Richard Alley (1976, OH)

Dr. Richard Alley is Evan Pugh University Professor of Geosciences at Penn State.  He has been honored for research (including election to the US National Academy of Sciences and Foreign Membership in the Royal Society), teaching, and service.  Dr. Alley participated in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), and has provided requested advice to numerous government officials in multiple administrations.


Dr. Katherine High (1968, NC)

Dr. Kathy High is an accomplished hematologist with a longstanding interest in gene therapy for genetic disease. As president at Spark Therapeutics, she has led the development and received regulatory approval of the first gene therapy for a genetic disease approved in both the US and EU. Dr. High was a long-time member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and of the medical staff at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where she was also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 


Desmond Richardson (1986, NY)

Desmond Richardson was the first African American principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre and is Co-Artistic Director of the internationally acclaimed Complexions Contemporary Ballet. With his technical virtuosity and statuesque expressive demeanor, he has been hailed by the New York Times as among the greatest dancers of his time. Richardson has been a principal dancer and an invited guest with many of the most prestigious companies in the world.


The Dr. Felice Kaufman Award

The Dr. Felice Kaufmann Award was created to recognize individuals outside the ranks of Presidential Scholar alumni in celebration of their efforts to support and understand Presidential Scholars or to support the U. S. Presidential Scholars Program, Foundation, or Alumni Association. Dr. Felice Kaufmann received the inaugural award in 2017.


Lin Arison

Lin Arison is one of America’s most ardent supporters of young artistic talent. In 1981, in Miami, she and her husband, Ted Arison, founded the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and its core program, YoungArts. An accomplished author, Lin has published four books and is working on a fifth. In a 2013 ceremony at the White House, Lin was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. 

2017 and 2018 Presidential Scholars Honors

The inaugural event honored three outstanding former Presidential Scholars: Chief Judge Merrick Garland (1970, IL), former governor of Indiana and President of Purdue University Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. (1967, IN), and Poet Laureate Rita Dove (1970, OH). Presidential Scholars researcher Dr. Felice Kaufmann received the inaugural Dr. Felice Kaufmann Award for a non-Scholar. 

Video from the 2017 Salute to the U.S. Presidential Scholars performance and photos from the 2017 event can be seen here.

In 2018 we added three outstanding individuals to our group of awardees. Martha Bergmark (1966, MS) is an advocate for civil rights and justice for all and Eugene Robinson (1970, SC) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post. Jane Case Williams received the Dr. Felice Kaufmann Award. She was the Executive Director of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program during the 1970s and was very influential in the expansion of the National Recognition Program and also the creation of the Presidential Scholars in the Arts Program.

Video from the 2018 Salute to the U.S. Presidential Scholars performance and photos from the 2018 event can be seen here.