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April 19, 2006 (Ellis Island, NY) - Today in the historic Great Hall, four esteemed individuals were honored by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. for their contributions to the American Experience.

The Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards, given annually to a select number of Port of New York and Ellis Island immigrants or their descendants, were presented by the Foundation’s Founding Chairman Lee Iacocca in an 11:00 a.m. ceremony hosted by Ernie Anastos of WNYW-TV Fox 5, with remarks by Lynn Scarlett, Acting Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

The 2006 honorees are:

GOVERNMENT SERVICE: Madeleine K. Albright – 64th Secretary of State of the United States, she was the first woman Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States government. Born in Czechoslovakia, she and her family came to the United States in 1948.

THE ARTS: Frank McCourt – Born in Brooklyn to Irish immigrant parents, he was raised in desperate poverty in Ireland, an experience he so movingly described in his Pulitzer Prize winning memoir, Angela’s Ashes. His mother entered America through Ellis Island.

BUSINESS: Shelly Lazarus – Listed in Fortune Magazine’s annual ranking of the 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business since its inception in 1998, she is Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, the firm where she has spent most of her three decades in the field of advertising. She is the granddaughter of Ellis Island immigrants.

SPORTS: Tommy Lasorda – Baseball’s most popular ambassador, he entered the major leagues as a left-handed pitcher with the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers but is best known for his extraordinary 20-year career as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. His father came to America through Ellis Island.

The Ellis Island honorees were presented with a framed copy of the original ship’s passenger manifest documenting the arrival of their family in America, obtained from the database of the American Family Immigration History Center® at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and online at The database contains the ship passenger records of the more than 25 million people who entered through the Port of New York and Ellis Island from 1892-1924. Forty percent of Americans have family immigration records in this database.

Honorees are selected through a process that is guided by an Awards Committee of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

About The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic restorations of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, working in partnership with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior. In addition to restoring the monuments, the Foundation created a museum in the Statue’s base and the world-class Ellis Island Immigration Museum, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor® and the American Family Immigration History Center®. Its endowment has funded over 200 projects at the islands.

Peg Zitko (212) 561-4517
Elizabeth Oravetz (212) 561-4542

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