The Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal is the school’s highest alumni honor and is given each year to a person whose life work best typifies the school motto: Not to be ministered unto but to minister. The recipient’s life and actions must demonstrate something humanitarian apart from a vocation or service. He or she must have gone above the ordinary demands of life or occupation. Success in a chosen field does not necessarily qualify a person for the honor. At the same time, it is possible for a person to be eminently successful and go beyond the call of duty to serve others.
An alumni committee meets each January to review names that have been recommended by fellow alums and to determine the recipient. Alumni are encouraged to put forth the name of an alumnus or alumna to be considered. Eligibility for the Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal is also extended to those who are or have been connected with the school or who have shown special interest in Taft. Candidates must be living to receive the award. The award is bestowed at the Old Guard Dinner on Alumni Weekend.
All citations, since the award’s creation in 1960, hang in a place of honor along Main Hall. The Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal is a reminder of Taft’s commitment to serve others.
2014 Recipient of the Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal
William I. Miller
Class of 1974
Forty-three years ago this past fall you arrived at Taft a shy, slightly naïve young boy from Columbus, Indiana. In your years at the school, you matured into a leading scholar, outstanding actor and fearless explorer of the Taft campus, a role which well-prepared you for the impact you would later have on the evolution of the school's architecture. A Yale B.A. and Stanford M.B.A. with academic honors followed, leading to a distinguished career as a businessman at Warburg Pincus, Irwin Management Corporation and the Irwin Financial Corporation before returning east to become president of the Wallace Foundation, dedicated to improving public education through excellence in school leadership. This step followed logically from your service to nonprofit boards such as the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation, Yale University, Public Radio International, Indiana's Community Education Coalition, the National Building Museum and the Taft School, where you played the essential role as the school's master planner for nearly thirty years. At the tender age of twenty-five, you had the temerity to challenge the Taft trustees to "choose enduring values and beauty over easy or inexpensive solutions, to build for one hundred years and understand that we design buildings and then they shape us for generations to come." And so Taft has, assuring that we have one of the most inspirational campuses of any school in America today. Your life of service to education throughout the land and to your own school exemplifies the enduring power of Horace Taft's ideal: Non ut sibi Ministretur sed ut ministret. With admiration and deep gratitude, we confer upon you Taft's highest honor, the Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal.
To nominate someone for the Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal
Simply send a message to HoraceDTaftAlumniMedal@taftschool.org.
Please include the person's name, class year, and the reason you think he or she should be considered.
Citation of Merit Recipients