Our Highest Honors

Each year CHCI presents its Highest Honors at its Annual Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. during Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Medallion of Excellence awards are presented to an individual who conducts himself or herself in an exemplary manner and who serves as a role model and standard-bearer for the Latino community, particularly Latino youth. The individual must have at least a 15-year record of contributions and accomplishments in his/her field with solid leadership and community involvement. The qualifying factor is philanthropic and civic engagement through the initiation or support of programs that benefit the Hispanic community as a whole.

Medallion of Excellence Categories:

  • Medallion for Excellence in the Arts, Entertainment, Music, and Sports
  • American Dream Medallion in Education, Science, Medicine, or Civil Rights

The Chair's Medallion Award(s) is presented each year to an individual who has dedicated his or her public or private career to improving the lives of Hispanic Americans. The honoree is chosen wholly at the Chair's discretion.

The Medallion of Excellence for a Distinguished Alumnus recognizes a CHCI alumnus who has made an outstanding contribution to the Latino Community and who has thereby achieved distinction. This prestigious annual award is meant to highlight the impact of CHCI's programs and the prominence of its alumni. Those considered are judged on the full range of their professional accomplishments. Alumni must have graduated from the Fellowship program at least 20 years or the Internship program 15 years from the date of nomination.

2016

Cheech Marin
Medallion of Excellence in the Arts, Entertainment, Music or Sports






Anna Maria Chávez
American Dream Medallion of Excellence in Education, Science, Medicine or Civil Rights






Arnoldo Avalos
CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award







2015

Anthony Muñoz

Anthony Muñoz
Medallion of Excellence in the Arts, Entertainment, Music or Sports






Sonia Gutierrez

Sonia Gutierrez
American Dream Medallion of Excellence in Education, Science, Medicine or Civil Rights






Chef José Andrés

Chef José Andrés
Chair's Medallion Award







Alejandra Ceja

Alejandra Ceja
CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award







2014

José Díaz-Balart
Medallion of Excellence in the Arts, Entertainment, Music or Sports

Eliseo Medina
American Dream Medallion of Excellence in Education, Science, Medicine or Civil Rights

Juliet V. García, Ph.D.

Chair's Medallion Award

Henry L. Fernández, Ed.D.
CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

2013

Salma Hayek Pinault
Medallion of Excellence in the Arts, Entertainment, Music or Sports

Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr.
American Dream Medallion of Excellence in Education, Science, Medicine or Civil Rights

Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa

Chair's Medallion Award


CHCI Alumni Association Founding Members

CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

2012

Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch (ret.)

Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service


George Lopez

Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service


Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa
Chair's Award


Hon. Liza Rodriguez
CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

2011

Vikki Carr
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service
 
José Hernández
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service

The Honorable Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Chair's Award

The Honorable Hilda L. Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor
Chair's Award


Orson Aguilar
CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

Chris Weitz
CHCI Excellence in Service Award

2010

Eva Longoria Parker
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service

Arturo Sandoval
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service

Lin-Manuel Miranda 
Chair's Lifetime Achievement Award


Gabriella Gomez
CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

2009

Lalo Guerrero (awarded posthumously)
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service

Soledad O'Brien

Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service


Marc Anthony
Chair's Lifetime Achievement Award

Ana Maria Arias (awarded posthumously)

CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

2008

Rosie Perez
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service

Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, USA (Ret.)

Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service

Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz
Chair's Award

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Chair's Award

Rep. Jose E. Serrano
Chair's Award

Enrique Figueroa, Ph.D.
CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

2007

Rep. Luis Gutierrez
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service

Monica Lozano
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service

Ms. Regina Aragón

CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

Tribute to Latino Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients

Chair's Award

2006

Jimmy Smits
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership


Roberto Walker Clemente (awarded posthumously)
Medallion of Excellence for Community Service


Maria Elena Salinas
Chair's Award


Dr. José Garzon

CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

2005

Alonzo Cantu
Medallion of Excellence for Community Service

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership

Rita Moreno
Chair's Award

2004

Dolores Huerta
Medallion of Excellence for Community Service

Arturo Rodriguez
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership

Jorge Ramos

Chair's Award

2003

Hon. Bill Richardson
Medallion of Excellence for Community Service

Raúl Yzaguirre

Medallion of Excellence for Community Service


Ricky Martin

Chair's Humanitarian Award

2002

Hon. Henry Cisneros
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership

Emilio and Gloria Estefan

Medallion of Excellence for Community Service

2001

The Medallions of Excellence were not conferred due to the cancellation of the gala in the wake of September 11.

2000

Dedicated to the entire Hispanic community for their contributions to the United States.

1999

Hon. Robert Menendez
Medallion of Excellence for Leadership

Carlos Santana

Medallion of Excellence for Community Service

1998

The Medallions of Excellence Awards were not conferred due to the retirements of the Hon. Henry B. Gonzalez and Hon. Esteban Torres.

1997

Moctesuma Esparza
Distinguished Service Award
 
Elisa Sanchez
Role Model Award
 
Tribute for the Hon. Frank Tejeda in memoriam.

1996

The Medallions of Excellence Awards were not conferred due to the retirement of CHCI founding member, the Hon. E. "Kika" de la Garza.

1995

Dr. Manuel A. Alzugaray
Distinguished Service Award
 
Carmen Zapata
Role Model Award

1994

Hon. Fernando Ferrer
Distinguished Service Award

Miriam I. Cruz
Role Model Award

1993

Lucille Beserra-Roybal
Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Ellen Ochoa
Role Model Award

1992

Antonia Hernandez
Distinguished Service Award

 The Role Model Award was not conferred due to the retirement of CHCI founding member, the Hon. Edward R. Roybal.

1991

Sonia Manzano
Distinguished Service Award
 
Jesse Benavides
Role Model Award

1990

Dr. Antonia C. Novello
Distinguished Service Award

Sidney M. Gutierrez
Role Model Award

1989

Marta Istomín
Distinguished Service Award

Edward James Olmos
Role Model Award

1988

Prof. Jaime Escalante
Distinguished Service Award

Chi Chi Rodríguez
Role Model Award

1987

Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz
Distinguished Service Award

1986

Clara Padilla Andrews
Distinguished Service Award

Hon. Edward N. Hidalgo
Role Model Award

1985

Hon. E. "Kika" de la Garza

Hon. and Mrs. Robert García

Hon. Manuel Lujan, Jr.

Hon. Edward R. Roybal