Ed Ahart ’69, former chair of the Board of Trustees, will be awarded the Lafayette Medal for Distinguished Service at the College’s 184 Commencement on Saturday. The following will be included in the Commencement program.
The Lafayette Medal was commissioned in 1987 by the Board of Trustees to honor alumni and friends who have provided exemplary service to the College. It is the premier award for volunteers, given to those who have a demonstrated record of voluntary service in a variety of areas with noteworthy achievement in each.
Designed by Frank Gasparro, 11th Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, the medal is based on the bust of the Marquis de Lafayette that was executed in 1790 by noted French sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon (1741-1828).
The medal includes Pardee Hall in the background and Lafayette’s signature from a personal letter to George Corbin Washington, adopted son of President and Mrs. George Washington, and caretaker of Mount Vernon.
EDWARD W. AHART, member of the Class of 1969 and chair of the Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2018, is the 12th recipient of the Lafayette Medal for Distinguished Service.
Ahart’s record of service to the College is long and distinguished. A trustee since 1992, he succeeded Alan R. Griffith ’64 as board chair. In that role he chaired the Steering Committee, Executive Committee, and Committee on Compensation and served on the Committee on Trustees and Governance. He remains a member of the Steering Committee, Executive Committee, and Trustees and Governance Committee.
He previously chaired the Committee on Student Life, was vice chair of the Committee on Educational Policy, and was a member of the Committee on Easton.
Ahart presided over the installation of Alison R. Byerly as 17th president and was a member of the search committee whose efforts culminated in the election of Daniel H. Weiss as 16th president. He was a member of the leadership committees for the Live Connected, Lead Change campaign, the largest and most ambitious fundraising effort in the College’s history, which raised $425 million.
Ahart chaired the All-College Task Force on Alcohol and Substance Abuse and Alumni House Committee. He was president of the Alumni Association, which honored him with its Joseph E. Bell ’28 Award for distinguished service. The College awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws at the 175th Commencement in 2010.
A Spanish major at Lafayette, Ahart holds a Juris Doctor degree from Cornell University Law School. He is former chairman and managing partner of the law firm of Schenck, Price, Smith & King LLP. He chairs the Corporate and Business practice and Nonprofit Organizations practice.
Ahart and his wife, Catherine Folk Ahart, were inducted into the Société d’Honneur in 2017. Their ties to Lafayette include daughters Amy ’97 and Alison ’03 and sons-in-law Thomas DiGiovanni ’96 and Shaw Williams ’03. Ahart Family Arts Plaza at the Williams Arts Campus was dedicated in 2013. Ahart and his family also are benefactors of the Ahart Family Scholarship Fund.