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Alan R. Griffith ’64, chair of the Board of Trustees, awarded the Lafayette Medal for Distinguished Service to John W. Landis ’39 today at the 172nd Commencement. The award was accepted by Landis’ nephew, William L. Landis ’71.


You graduated at the top of your Lafayette class, receiving your B.S. degree Summa Cum Laude and earning election to Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. Your peers and professors had far more than just your superb academic record in mind, however, when they selected you as the recipient of the George Wharton Pepper Prize. Classmates noted that you were “equally adept at politics, journalism, acting, athletics, and leadership.”

Even that impressive list did not include everything of importance to you. For one thing there was the special sense of fulfillment you gained from participating in campus service activities. For another, there was your growing affection for a certain Moravian College undergraduate with whom you had shared an interest in volunteering when you were in high school – and with whom you continued to share a devotion to civic, community, educational, and charitable endeavors throughout six decades of marriage. How fitting it is that the Landis Community Outreach Center – endowed through the remarkable generosity of you and your beloved Muriel – has become synonymous with volunteer service at Lafayette.

You have yourself been the consummate Lafayette volunteer. You served with distinction as a trustee and have held a number of class offices. You chaired the Alumni Council and were an Alumni Visiting Fellow. The Admissions Office, the engineering division, and countless other campus programs benefited significantly from your involvement, and your exceptional generosity is reflected in your membership in the Société d’Honneur and your sustaining membership in the Marquis Society. Your record as a Lafayette volunteer is particularly impressive because you also excelled professionally, success which the College recognized by presenting you with an honorary degree in 1960.

The Alumni Association has already accorded you its two most coveted honors: the George Washington Kidd, Class of 1836, Award for career distinction and the Joseph E. Bell ’28 Alumni Distinguished Service Award. Today your proud and grateful college pays its own heartfelt tribute by presenting you with the Lafayette Medal in recognition of your lifelong commitment to the highest ideals of service.

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