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In 1961, the University empowered the Alumni Association to officially recognize the men and women who bring distinction to John Carroll University. The Alumni Medal recognizes an individual’s accomplishments in their profession, contributions to their community and dedicated service to John Carroll post-graduation. This award also affirms the Jesuit ideal of being men and women for others, a principle reinforced in the mission of John Carroll. The first recipients of the Alumni Medal were William J. Corrigan 1911 and Dr. Edmund A. Smolik ’32.

Throughout the years, the John Carroll University Alumni Association has added other awards to celebrate the many significant accomplishments and contributions of its members. The Campion Shield recognizes heroism, bravery, or sacrifice on the part of a member of the John Carroll community. The Young Alumni Award recognizes outstanding leadership and service of a recent John Carroll graduate. The Rev. William M. Bichl, S.J. Alumni Volunteer Service Award recognizes outstanding volunteers in service to the JCU Alumni Association. The Silver Quill is presented annually to a class columnist for dedication to his/her classmates in writing the column for the Alumni Journal in John Carroll magazine.

These awards are traditionally presented to the awardees at the Alumni Association’s showcase event, the Annual Alumni Awards Dinner, hosted the Friday of JCU's Spring Commencement Weekend.