Press Releases | Freedom of Expression

ACTA Presents Annual Award to University of Chicago President

President Robert Zimmer Honored with Award Celebrating Excellence in the Liberal Arts
October 19, 2017 by ACTA

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) will present the 13th annual Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education to University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer at the Ronald Reagan Building on the evening of October 20. The Merrill Award is named for noted philanthropist and public servant Philip Merrill, who was a founding member of ACTA’s national council. President Zimmer’s extensive contributions to academic freedom and free expression come at a time when free inquiry is endangered on many college campuses. His leadership in this area exemplifies the virtues this award celebrates and makes the University of Chicago a model for all of higher education. The Merrill Award presentation concludes ACTA’s annual ATHENA Roundtable Conference. President Zimmer will accept the award in-person and will address the Conference.

WHO: University of Chicago President, Robert Zimmer

President Robert Zimmer is the 13th president of the University of Chicago. He has led the University of Chicago—among the highest-ranked research universities in the world—for over a decade. Through his leadership, the University has become a nationwide leader in defending free expression and academic freedom.

Tribute Givers: Jonathan Cole, David Rubenstein, Bret Stephens

New York Times Columnist Bret Stevens, philanthropist and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group David Rubenstein, and John Mitchell Mason Professor of Sociology and provost emeritus of Columbia University Jonathan Cole will give tributes.

WHAT: A gala dinner and the presentation of the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education.

WHERE: The Ronald Reagan Building, the Pavilion, 2nd Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004.

WHEN: Friday, October 20, at 6:30 p.m.


CONTACT: Christine Ravold,


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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