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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 exemplary individuals who are role models and outstanding civic citizens for the Latino community, Latino youth in particular.

The individuals must have at least a 15-year record of contributions and accomplishments in their 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 of Excellence 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.

2017

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Cástulo de la Rocha

Medallion of Excellence in Education, Science, Medicine or Civil Rights

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Lin-Manuel Miranda

Medallion of Excellence in The Arts, Entertainment, Music or Sports

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Susan I. Santana

CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

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Sandra Cisneros

CHCI Chair’s Award

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Rudy M. Beserra

CHCI Pioneer Award

2016

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Cheech Marin

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

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Anna Maria Chávez

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

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Arnoldo Avalos

CHCI Distinguished Alumnus Award

2015

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Anthony Muñoz

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

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Sonia Gutierrez

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

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Chef José Andrés

Chair’s Medallion Award

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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
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