University of Denver Plans to Give George W. Bush the “‘Improving Human Condition” Award

One of the more bizarre trends that I have covered this year has been the distribution of phony awards to high level crony political oligarchs either for PR purposes or for money.  I thought I had seen it all a couple of weeks ago when I read that Jeb Bush was set to present the “Liberty Medal” to Hillary Clinton.

Apparently the University of Denver was not to be outdone, as they planned to give the “Improving Human Condition” award to none other than George W. Bush! Thankfully, considerable outrage has led the University to rethink its choice, but it is inexcusable to begin with.  It is not only an embarrassment to the University of Denver, but also to the entire state of Colorado, my adopted home. From the Huffington Post:

Hundreds of students, staffers and alumni are protesting the University of Denver’s decision to honor former President George W. Bush with an award traditionally recognizing recipients for their work on behalf of humanity.

“It’s been mostly just a lot of surprise,” Seth Masket, associate professor of Political Science said of the award to be bestowed by the University’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

The school hosts the Korbel Dinner to present the award each year. In June, the Sept. 9 dinner was announced and invitations circulated both by mail and on the school’s website, pictured below, saying the 43rd president would be welcomed and honored as the 2013 recipient of the “Improving the Human Condition Award.”

On June 25, award protestor Taylor Gibson signed the petition and beseeched Korbel Dean Christopher Hill, “Don’t make a mockery of my degree.” The next day, Kiela Parks, an alumna and former employee at the University’s Office of Alumni and External Relations employee who worked at the 2011 and 2012 Korbel dinners, signed onto the movement.

Shortly thereafter, Dean Hill – who served as U.S. ambassador to Poland and Korea under Bush – sent around an email to faculty explaining the decision to honor his former boss. The email was written largely in response to the public controversy sparked by the petition as well as general conversation taking place among the Korbel community.

Hill did not address the sudden removal of the name of the award from the website. He wrote that the school was still searching for an appropriate title for the award to be given to Bush – “probably along the lines of ‘The Chancellor’s Award’ or the ‘Presidential Award’ or something similar.”

As made clear in Hill’s email and on the website, the annual dinner is the school’s biggest fundraising event. It draws significant contributions for research, scholarships, internships and other student and faculty needs.

Dean Hill didn’t immediately respond to messages left by The Colorado Independent with his office at 5 p.m. last night. At 6 p.m., however, his office sent out a letter to members of the DU community about the award.

“Initially we chose the title ‘Improving the Human Condition’ – a phrase that has been in the Josef Korbel School lexicon for several years,” she said. “We realize that this name does not clearly communicate the purpose of this recognition,” which, she explained, is why the school is in the process of choosing a new name for the award.

Hill addressed those criticisms in his email. “We live in difficult times in which fundamental institutions such as the presidency are sometimes not respected,” he wrote.

That last line says it all.  We live in a country where all of our institutions are so obsessed with the bottom line that even “places of higher learning” do not hesitate for a moment in prostituting themselves out for an extra dollar.  Even George Orwell would blush at this one.

Full article here.

In Liberty,

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  1. Hey, if obama can beat our Mother Theresa for the Nobel Peace Prize, any of us can hope for an unearned, meaningless award!

  2. Hey –

    Your last post [University of Denver Plans to Give George W. Bush the “‘Improving Human Condition” Award] was freaking awesome. I have gone ahead and added your stuff to my Feedly account. Please keep me updated if you post anywhere else.

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  3. Obama gets the Nobel prize, Hillary gets a liberty medal and Bush might get an award for improving human conditions, thats politics for you.

  4. thanks for bringing this to our attention … preposterous … the attempts at rewriting history. NPR/BBC last night had the announcer focused on people being blackballed for postings on the net from years prior, any comment being fair game for firing or marginalizing someone … I saw Ron Paul’s email about signing the directive against the National ID contained in the 1200 page new Immigration legislation being pushed through – from the email : … “Of course, the most dangerous part of the bill is the biometric tracking technology. Gun ownership, health records, purchasing habits, religious beliefs – virtually anything you could dream up could all be added to this massive National ID database. ” 1984 Indeed.

  5. These are not “places of higher education”. They are places of indoctrination of the sheeple into the matrix so they can become good debt slaves. It’s as simple as that.

    Wise Old Man is back!

  6. the ‘Hollywood syndrome’ as in useless awards… is none spreading to politics…award somebody something for anything they did….just so you can invite a lot of people to the event in order to fleece them of their in having them give to a cause…..GWB trashed the Constitution…I award him the ‘founders award’……tar and feathers….imho

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