Sonnenschein Medal of Excellence

The Hugo F. Sonnenschein Medal of Excellence is the highest award bestowed upon undergraduates by the College. Named in honor of the University of Chicago’s eleventh president, it recognizes one graduating student whose character and deeds embody the University's foundational commitment to the direct and active betterment of society at large. The award thereby seeks to inspire an ethos of engagement that further strengthens the University’s service to local, national, and international communities.

The Sonnenschein Medal will be awarded based on three selection criteria: ambition for othersevidence of public service and leadership, and academic excellence.

  • Ambition for others will be substantiated by a sustained and significant record of improving the lives of others and elevating the public good.
  • Their service and leadership record will demonstrate a capacity to be a positive representative of the University of Chicago and to have a sustained, service-driven impact within and beyond its walls.
  • Finally, recipients of the Sonnenschein Medal will possess a depth and breadth of scholastic achievement that is connected to their broader concerns for societal betterment. 

The award will be given annually to a graduating student by the Dean of the College at Class Day. Faculty, staff, and University leadership will be invited to nominate candidates for this prestigious honor. A University-wide call for nominations will be issued in the early winter quarter of each year. 

Read more about the inaugural recipient of the Sonnenschein Medal of Excellence, Ricky Holder (AB 2023), here. View a video clip of the award ceremony here

Please contact Dr. Nichole J. Fazio, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Research and Scholars Programs, with further question about the Hugo F. Sonnenschein Medal of Excellence []. If you are a faculty or staff member with questions about nomination procedures, please note that we will open the nomination cycle in winter 2024.