The Columns

Légion d'Honneur for Gerry Lenfest '53, '55L

— by on September 30th, 2011

In a ceremony earlier this month at the American Revolution Center in Philadelphia, His Excellency,  Ambassador of France to the United States François Delattre, presented Washington and Lee alumnus and benefactor Gerry Lenfest ’53, ’55L, with the Insignia of Officier de la Légion d’Honneur, commonly known as the Legion of Honor.

Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 in recognition of outstanding military and civil achievements, the Legion of Honor is France’s highest award and one of the most coveted distinctions in the world. While the Legion of Honor may be awarded to foreigners, such recognition is rare.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Ambassador Delattre praised Gerry as “an excellent friend of France” whose achievements in commerce and culture have positively impacted the lives of countless citizens of the city of Philadelphia, of the state of Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. He paid tribute to Gerry for his work as a successful businessman, as a philanthropist and as “an enthusiastic francophile.”

“There is within you a fascination with life, about its potential for creation and invention, about its ability to evolve and go beyond,” the ambassador said of Gerry. You can read the ambassador’s remarks in their entirety on the French embassy’s website.

In addition to the ambassador, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and Gerry both made remarks at the event.