Wake Forest golf icon Arnold Palmer received the Congressional Gold Medal at a special ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 12.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award in the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which Palmer received in 2004. He is only the sixth athlete in history to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid participated in the ceremony. Support from two-thirds of the Senate and House is required before the bill goes to committee.
“I’m particularly proud of anything that the House and Senate agree on,” Palmer joked. Then, he said, “I am very humbled.”
Palmer’s career includes 62 PGA Tour wins and seven major championship titles. His commitment to children, philanthropy and fans helped him elevate the sport.
“Throughout his life, he’s been a model of integrity, compassion and commitment,” Boehner said.
Last year, Wake Forest named its newly renovated golf complex in honor of Palmer. He paved the way for future generations of Wake Forest golfers, including fellow U.S. Open winners Curtis Strange in the 1980s and Webb Simpson earlier this year.
“When it comes to golf, the Demon Deacons have one of the best traditions in all of college athletics, thanks largely to the legendary Arnold Palmer,” said President Nathan Hatch. “On behalf of the entire Wake Forest community, please join me in congratulating him on his Congressional Gold Medal.”