Columbia University Honors School's Pandemic Leadership

May 19, 2022

On May 19, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger awarded the Nicholas Murray Butler Gold Medal to 21 members of the President’s Advisory Task Force on COVID-19. The group, whose members include Dean Linda P. Fried and Wafaa El-Sadr, is charged with ensuring the health and safety of the University community, maintaining financial stability in unprecedented times, and providing facilities equipped to manage the threat of the COVID-19 virus.

The Butler Medal was established in 1914 to honor Columbians who have made distinguished contributions in academic administration or in furtherance of the work of the University. 

Several Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) faculty were also honored as members of the Task Force. They include Donna Lynne, DrPH '03, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of CUIMC and adjunct assistant professor of Health Policy and Management; Melanie Bernitz, Senior Vice President for Columbia Health; and posthumously, Scott Hammer, who served as chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.

In presenting the honor, President Bollinger said: “The group’s guiding principle was to maintain the mission of the University while preserving the health of our community. These colleagues worked and continue to work tirelessly with humility and steadfast commitment in support of Columbia’s faculty, staff, and students. With genuine gratitude for the extraordinary ways in which the President’s Advisory Task Force on COVID-19 served the University community throughout this unprecedented period in our history, we present each of them with the Butler Medal.”