During a five-year period in the 1960s, dozens of students and a handful of educators contributed to an appreciation of Hungarian culture and life.
Almost 50 years later, Case Western Reserve was honored for its role with an Abraham Lincoln Award, presented by the American Hungarian Foundation.
Attendees at the recognition ceremony included August J. Molnar, president of the American Hungarian Foundation; special guests from the Hungarian American community; and the family of Ferenc Somogyi, the professor who taught the university’s Cultural History of the Hungarian People course for five years.
President Barbara R. Snyder hosted the special event. "I often say that the mission of a research university is to advance knowledge and understanding. When we study the history and culture of other places, we inevitably gain new appreciation for what is unique and admirable about them. More, we discover ways in which that heritage helps shape the culture of our own country," she said at the event, which was held in late spring.
According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, at one time the city’s Hungarian population was the second-largest in the world.
From 1962 to 1967, almost 100 students enrolled in the course, which also had teaching support from John Palasics, a well-known member of the Hungarian community, and Freda B. Kovacs, a writer and teacher who focused on Hungarian life and culture.
The American Hungarian Foundation sponsors grants, special events, lectures, educational scholarships and exhibits portraying the unique cultural and historical heritage of American Hungarians.
According to the foundation, "The Abraham Lincoln Award honors Case Western Reserve University for having enhanced the appreciation and understanding of Hungarian culture and heritage in America."
The award is inspired by the sixteenth president of the United States, who often spoke of the important role immigrants and their descendents played in American Life.
Additional resources: The Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.