Award recognizes lifetime achievement
Gwen Grant Mellon, who along with her late husband, dedicated her life to helping the sick and disadvantaged in running a hospital in a developing country, will receive the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
In 1947, Mellon and her husband, Larry Mellon, of the Mellon banking and oil family, read an article about the life's work of Albert Schweitzer and his mission hospital in Africa. They vowed to dedicate their lives to similar work.
In 1956, the Mellons established the Haiti I'Hopital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti, which became a model for developing countries. Even after her husband died in 1989, Gwen Mellon stayed on amid political and economic adversity.
"The whole point is to find ways to help the people live better," she said in a 1995 interview.
The Albert Schweitzer Prize is given under the auspices of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in New York and is administered by Johns Hopkins. The award, which carries a $15,000 cash prize, was established in 1986 by Albert Toepfer, an international grain merchant from Hamburg, Germany, to advance the cause of humanitarianism by recognizing exemplary contributions to humanity and the environment.
The Prize will be awarded in a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. in the Bakst Theatre at the university's Evergreen House at 4545 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. Henry B. Perry III, director general and chief executive officer of Hopital Albert Schweitzer, will be accepting the award on behalf of Gwen Mellon, who has a hip injury which prevents her from coming to Baltimore.
Previous winners of the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism include President Jimmy Carter; Marian Wright Edelman; Norman Cousins; and C. Everett Koop.
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