The Association of Yale Alumni awarded the Yale Medal to five graduates on Friday in recognition of outstanding individual service to the University.

Yale President Richard Levin GRD ’74 and AYA Chair Susanna Krentz ’80 presented the awards to Philip Boyle ’71, Howard Holtzmann ’42 LAW ’47, Frederick Mayer ’50, Howard Newman ’69, and Deborah Rose ’72 EPH ’77 GRD ’89. Considered the AYA’s highest honor, the Yale Medal celebrates extraordinary devotion to the ideals of the University as well as extensive volunteer involvement on behalf of Yale. The medal ceremony took place at a gala dinner in Commons on Friday night as part of the AYA’s annual three-day assembly.

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Levin spoke before the presentation to join the other members of the AYA in congratulating the award winners on the great strides in volunteerism they have made.

“You inspire us all in so many ways,” Levin said.

AYA Director Mark Dollhopf said he was happy to see that alumni are focusing more on service to Yale, rather than just on having a good time at reunions. Returning to Yale is part of what motivates alumni to strengthen their ties to the University, he said.

“The alumni come back and see all that’s going on at Dwight Hall and say ‘We want to support these kids,’” Dollhopf said. “It doesn’t just mean giving them money, although that is important. It means getting involved.”

The five recipients of the award have proved their service to Yale in a variety of ways.

During Boyle’s time on the AYA Board of Governors from 1995 to 2004, he guided several projects, including the search for a new AYA Executive Director and the encouragement of shared interest groups for alumni.

Holtzmann, an AYA At-large Delegate and former Alumni Fund Agent Chair, spearheaded support for the Joseph Slifka Center and in 2000 endowed the Jewish Chaplaincy at Yale, which was the first such position at an American college campus. Rose has been involved with Dwight Hall community outreach programs since her time at Yale College. She worked with branches of the New Haven Free Public Library and the new Rose Center, which houses both the Yale Police Department and the Dixwell Community Center.

Lydia Temoshok ’72, a classmate of Rose’s, said Rose represents the ideal characteristics of a Yale Medal winner.

“She doesn’t just contribute to Yale,” Temoshok said. “She works on the design [of Yale’s service projects] and looks at what is needed. Deborah exemplifies the very best of Yale.”

Mayer led and counselled the Yale University Art Gallery as part of the Art Gallery Board and as board chair from 1995-2003. His campaign for education outreach to the local New Haven area has expanded the Gallery’s cultural offerings to reach more than just the Yale community.

Since graduating from Yale College, Newman solidified Yale’s dedication to the city of New Haven as chair of the University Council Committee on New Haven Economic Development. As chair of the Alumni Fund, he led over 1,500 alumni volunteers in raising funds for Yale.

The presentation dinner was just one aspect of the Assembly, which took place from November 9 to 11. The annual AYA assemblies allow alumni volunteers to address the University’s activities on a variety of issues and provide networking opportunities. More than 400 alumni attended this year to engage in discussions around the theme, “The Importance of Service at Yale and Beyond.”

Victor Chears ’74, an AYA At-Large delegate who attended the dinner on Friday, said the annual Assemblies establish a connection between current and former Yale students.

“It’s great that alumni get the opportunity to share in [campus life],” Chears said. “It’s important for all of us — for alumni to see what students are doing and for students to see what we are doing.”

This year’s five Yale Medal recipients were announced in July. The Yale Medal has been conferred upon 262 individuals since its inception in 1952.