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.
2015 Recipient of the Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal
Drummond C. Bell III
Class of 1963
Weighing in at sixty-nine pounds and standing four feet nine inches tall, you may have been the smallest lower mid in Taft history. An enthusiast for life you were, a scholar you were not yet. However, by senior year you were an accomplished scholar-athlete, earning the Coach’s Prize in Hockey and leading the cross country and track teams. Your advisor and coach John Small wrote, “Drum has given us an example of courage that will never fade, an example that will bring out the best in many, less endowed with the quality than he.”
One of the first Taft graduates to attend the University of North Carolina, you continued your career in track and cross country and were a member of Saint Anthony Hall, where you led the way for the admission of the first African American brothers. A courageous student had emerged as a deeply principled leader.
Work at U.S. Steel followed as one of the youngest company officers, leading to your election as a division president. After twenty years, your entrepreneurial spirit took you in new directions—President of Mosbacher Jacobs, Managing Director of Freuhauf Trailer International, Partner of McFarland Dewey, Venture Partner of Private Equity Investors, and Director of nearly a dozen companies.
Most inspirational has been your service to not-for-profit organizations: a long-time relationship with Sponsors For Educational Opportunity, helping underserved youth; and as board member of National Urban Squash and Education Association; Readworks; Family House; Workshop in Business Opportunities, in support of entrepreneurs and small business owners; and Decatur Clearpool, a New York inner city school. Each of these endeavors reflects your passionate commitment to education for inner city youth.
Throughout your many commitments you have also devoted yourself to Taft. A Trustee for thirty years, you have been our greatest cheerleader, recruiting innumerable wonderful students, including your own, to Taft. You have served on nearly every board committee, helping to lead the School’s transformation. Your life of service to youth from every quarter and to your alma mater exemplifies the spirit 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