Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Gala in celebration of a new building’s opening last night in Washington, D.C..
McDonough School Dean George Daly also presented Schwarzenegger with the school’s Dean’s Medal, “which is the highest honor bestowed by the dean,” according to news releases from the school and the governor. The school says former recipients have included Prince Philipp of Liechtenstein; former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez; and Ann Misiaszek Sarnoff, chief operating officer of the Women’s National Basketball Association.
I contacted Teresa Mannix, the school’s media relations director, to inquire about whether there are any criteria for this honor, or whether it’s basically an honorary award bestowed upon notable people when they come to speak at the school. After all, it seems a little puzzling for a distinguished business school to bestow its highest honor upon a chief executive whose “business entity” — the State of California — is in such a severe state of fiscal disarray, and who seems to have lost the confidence of his “board of directors” — the people who elected him.
That would be like the National Park Trust giving an award to someone for leadership and innovation in protecting public lands, just one day after that same someone announced state park closures due to budget cuts. Oh, wait – that happened, too.
Mannix’s response is that the medal “recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in various fields. It is not bestowed on all of our notable speakers.”
There you have it – “distinguished.”