Medal for Eminent Service
The 2011 Medal for Eminent Service will be presented to Arthur W. Koenig, founder of the Koenig Scholarship Fund. Pledged to the college in 2007, the fund allows Amherst to recruit and educate five high-achieving students each year from low-income families in Africa and Latin America. In addition to providing full financial support—as well as academic and cultural support—to the students over all four years, the scholarship program sponsors recruitment trips to these areas of the world by the college’s admission staff and the students themselves. The first five Koenig Scholars are members of this year’s graduating class.
Koenig has said that he hopes that the scholarship recipients will not only succeed in academia and in their lives but also have an influence upon their fellow students and the whole Amherst College community.
The medalist earned a bachelor’s degree cum laude in political science at Amherst. After serving in the Peace Corps in El Salvador, he attended Columbia University, where he received a master’s degree in international relations, with a concentration in international finance, in 1970. For more than 17 years, he worked for Duferco, an international steel company with headquarters in New York City and Portugal. Based in Rome from 2002 to 2006, he is now retired and living in London. Living abroad for many years, he says, has shown him the pressing need for bright young people in developing nations to gain access to education. He serves as a mentor to Amherst College students and alumni through the college’s Career Network.
In 2010, Koenig established a fellowship at Human Rights Watch to bring talented postgraduates from economically disadvantaged backgrounds into the human rights movement.