Saudi Arabian prince receives Chancellor’s Medal for Outstanding Achievement

Chase Gaewski | Photo Editor

Chancellor Nancy Cantor glided her fingers over a small, blue velvet box and then looked out into the sea of nearly 200 people packed into the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affair’s atrium.

“Your Royal Highness,” she began, breathing deeply before proceeding with the long list of accomplishments. “Hopeful diplomat. Astronaut. Disability advocate. Proud Maxwell School alumnus.”

“Your passion for place, from Arabian antiquities to aerospace, speaks to a world view that widely celebrates and embraces both the cultural gifts of our distinct pasts and the expansive opportunities of our shared future,” she added.

And with that, Prince Sultan bin Salman of Saudi Arabia stepped forward to allow the chancellor to reveal from the box a medal hanging from an orange ribbon, which she placed delicately over the prince’s neck. The crowd roared with applause.

Sultan — who currently serves as the president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, chairman of the board of trustees of the Prince Salman Center for Disabilities and Research and is the first Arab astronaut — was awarded with Syracuse University’s Chancellor’s Medal for Outstanding Achievement at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Past recipients of the award include American composer Aaron Copland, U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and current U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. The award honors individuals for their contributions to not only their own communities and the university, but the entire world.

Sultan received his master’s degree in social science from the Maxwell School in 1999, and as the son of Crown Prince Salman bin AbdulAziz al-Saud, is next in line to the Saudi throne.

His accomplishments include his dedication to scientific exploration and knowledge, after being the first Arab, first Muslim and the youngest person to travel to space at age 28, as a member of the international crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery. He is also recognized for his role in helping establish a partnership between SU and Princess Nora Bint Abdul Rahman University, the first all-female university in Riyadh.

Upon being recognized, Sultan pointed out that Cantor had forgotten to include an additional accomplishment of his – that of being a father. He credited his children to help carry on his work into the future by being optimistic and daring.

What fuels his work is his own adventurous nature, Sultan said.

“I still fly, I still glide, I still ski, I still do some crazy things that not too many people want to see me do, but I think that spirit is the spirit of the future,” he said.

Sultan ended his recognition speech by acknowledging three of his old Maxwell professors, and said he was “nervous” to see them again, which caused the crowd to laugh. They joined him up onto the makeshift stage.

Said Sultan: “They have been the three people who carried me through the difficulties of going to the program at Syracuse. They deserve this as much as anybody else.”


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