Penn honors philanthropist Raymond Perelman

Penn President Amy Gutmann presented the University of Pennsylvania Medal for Distinguished Achievement to prominent Philadelphia philanthropist Raymond Perelman at an evening ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 26, celebrating the naming of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine.

“We have gathered here to bestow one of the highest honors of the University on Raymond Perelman,” Gutmann told a crowd of about 350 gathered in the Translational Research Center auditorium. “There is no higher honor the University bestows, and no one more deserving than Ray Perelman.”

In May, Perelman and his late wife, Ruth, donated $225 million to Penn—the largest single gift in the University’s history—to benefit its School of Medicine. The donation represents the largest single gift to name a school of medicine in the United States.

Dressed in full academic regalia, Gutmann and Perelman were joined on the stage by James S. Riepe, chair of the Penn Medicine Board of Trustees; Arthur H. Rubenstein, professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine; J. Larry Jameson, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of the Perelman School of Medicine; and Leslie Laird Kruhly, vice president and secretary of the University.

“Thank you for this great honor,” Perelman said. “I am proud to be part of the great tradition of citizens who believe in service to the community.”

The Medal for Distinguished Achievement is awarded periodically “to those individuals whose performance is in keeping with the highest goals of the University and who have contributed to the world through innovative acts of scholarship, scientific discovery, artistic creativity or societal leadership.” 

Since its inception in 1993, 21 individuals have received the medal, including four Nobel laureates, former United States Senator Arlen Spector and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.