The Medal

The Wallenberg Medal is the creation and gift of Jon Rush, professor of art and design at the University of Michigan. He first learned about Raoul Wallenberg because the School of Art and Design had been part of the College of Architecture where Wallenberg was a student.

When Rush learned that a committee had been formed to present a medal to outstanding humanitarians, he contacted the Wallenberg Committee and offered to donate the medal itself. He designed the medal, made the model, and oversaw its production. The medal is bronze plated with gold. On the front of the medal is a portrait of Wallenberg with the words, “One Person Can Make a Difference.” On the reverse is the official seal of the University of Michigan and the words “Raoul Wallenberg, Class of 1935.”

The University of Michigan has both a Wallenberg medal and a Wallenberg memorial. Rush designed the memorial and also donated this to the University of Michigan. His continuing interest in Wallenberg eventually led to the creation of a public sculpture on the campus which is a memorial to Wallenberg. The title of the sculpture is Köszönöm Raoul Wallenberg. (Köszönöm is Hungarian for “thank you.”) It also includes the words, “One Person Can Make a Difference,” carved into the surface of the granite and stainless steel sculpture. Since Wallenberg saved the lives of Hungarian Jews, Rush felt that this would be an expression of their gratitude. The memorial, located at the west entrance of the Art and Architecture Building, poetically addresses the man and his deeds. The sculpture was the gift of Jon Rush and the family of Sol King who was a classmate of Wallenberg at the College of Architecture. In 1995 this piece was dedicated by Swedish Ambassador Per Anger, who had worked with Wallenberg in Budapest.

For more information about Jon Rush please visit Uniquely Michigan.