The Gerald R. Ford '41 American Courage Award

The Gerald Ford Award seeks to honor the legacy of President Ford, a Yale Law School graduate and devoted public servant to our nation.

Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974, President Ford defied the misguided demands of vengeful political partisans and pardoned the disgraced former President, allowing the country to begin to heal after over two years of extraordinary discord. While this unpopular decision cost him his career, President Ford nobly saw beyond the polls to put country over politics, sacrificing his own short-term interests to further the long-term interests of the nation. Embodying this civic virtue, President Ford proclaimed in his pardon address, "As President, my primary concern must always be the greatest good of all the people of the United States whose servant I am. As a man, my first consideration is to be true to my own convictions and my own conscience." The Gerald Ford Award thus aims to recognize public servants who have demonstrated a similarly unwavering commitment to principle throughout their lives.

Derived from the spirit of President Ford's Pardon Address, the characteristics embodied by a recipient of the Award are:

Devotion to the Public Good

Fidelity to the Rule of Law

Commitment to Conscience

Past Recipients

2024: Amb. John Bolton

2023: Prof. Jed Rubenfeld

2022: Dr. Henry Kissinger