Each year, Williams honors members of the college for outstanding accomplishment and service. Bicentennial Medals, honoring distinguished achievement, are awarded in September’s Convocation exercises. Copeland, Ephraim Williams, Kellogg, Rogerson, and Thurston awards are bestowed at the annual meeting of the Society of Alumni, and Joseph’s Coat is awarded at a special Reunion Weekend luncheon. Extraordinary recognition for extraordinary people. Learn more about them all on this site.

And congratulations to our 2023 Bicentennial Medalists!

This year’s recipients are:

  • Anita Earls ’81
    A civil rights attorney focused on voting rights, school desegregation and employment and housing discrimination, Earls is currently a justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court and founder and former executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
  • Phil Geier ’70
    Geier is a leader in international education and founder of both the Davis United World College Scholars program—the world’s largest privately funded scholarship program for undergraduates—and the Projects for Peace initiative.
  • Rebecca Haile ’86
    Haile is the co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Ethiopia Education Initiatives and its flagship project Haile-Manas Academy, a secondary boarding school for 400 students of promise recruited from across Ethiopia.
  • Robert Kim ’92
    An expert in legal and policy issues in public education, Kim is currently serving as executive director of the Education Law Center, advocating for greater resources, equity and diversity in public schools. He previously served in the U.S. Department of Education and the National Education Association.
  • Robbi Behr ’97 and Matthew Swanson ’97
    Behr and Swanson, an accomplished children’s book illustrator and writer, respectively, are also speakers and activists in the children’s literacy space. Most recently they spent the 2022-23 school year living and traveling in a school bus, visiting Title I schools in all 50 states and giving away 25,000 free books to students and teachers from low-income communities.