MAYWOOD, Ill. — The Sword of Loyola will be bestowed upon jazz icon Ramsey Lewis at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine’s 62nd Annual Award Dinner, to be held Saturday, Nov. 17 at Chicago’s Field Museum. The Sword of Loyola recognizes achievements of outstanding leaders for contributions in a field other than medicine.
“This award is very humbling to me. It reflects the values and integrity of the respected individuals in whose footprints I am filling,” Lewis said.
Ramsey Lewis has been a leader in contemporary jazz for more than 50 years. His mastery of the piano and warm personality have attracted fans from a variety of music genres. From die-hard jazz lovers to pop R&B devotees to classical music enthusiasts, Lewis has struck a heartfelt chord with them all. His dedication to music is matched by his dedication to helping musicians succeed.
“Since 1964, the Sword of Loyola has recognized excellence in leadership and service,” said Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president and CEO of Loyola University Chicago. “Ramsey is an extraordinary musician who is deeply committed to the arts and to cultivating young musicians. He is well-known both on stage and off as a champion of struggling artists, giving them support and guidance to help them reach their potential. We are delighted to recognize Ramsey’s unwavering commitment to the next generation by awarding him the Sword of Loyola."
A native Chicagoan, the three-time Grammy winner and recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award embodies the diversity of music for which Chicago is noted. He has received five honorary doctorate degrees, including one from Loyola University Chicago, as well as numerous other accolades during his career.
Lewis first captivated fans with his debut album, “Ramsey Lewis and the Gentlemen of Swing” in 1956. A decade later, he was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists. He has joined forces with countless other musicians, including London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, to create innovative compositions. Lewis also hosted a popular morning “smooth jazz” radio show in Chicago and the PBS television series “Legends of Jazz."
He continues to delight audiences as he performs across the country and abroad. His most recent album, “Ramsey, Taking Another Look,” has generated rave reviews.
Lewis has taken an active interest in many programs that develop young talent, including the ChiArts High School, Chicago’s first public arts high school. The school offers students from all backgrounds intensive pre-professional training in the arts, combined with a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum. Pre-professional arts training at this level would not be possible at the school without Lewis.
“I have always lived my life as a man and a musician in appreciation of the accomplishments and support of my many mentors and colleagues. Some of them are not even aware of their impact on me, but I have been keenly aware of the people who move into and out of my life,” Lewis said. “I think the importance of this award is a wonderful testament to all of the people who have influenced me, and my gratitude to them is enormous. I am so grateful for this honor."
He also is a member of Loyola University Chicago’s Council of Regents. Collectively and individually, approximately 50 business, civic, professional and religious leaders on the Council assist Loyola University Chicago in pursuing its mission as an urban, Catholic, Jesuit university dedicated to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives.
Also to be recognized during the Stritch School of Medicine Annual Award Dinner is Dr. Katherine Walsh of River Forest, Ill. She will receive the school’s highest honor, the Stritch Medal, which is awarded to a member of the faculty or an alumnus who has demonstrated the ideals of medicine promoted by the Stritch School of Medicine.
As Chicago’s oldest black-tie gala, the Stritch School of Medicine Annual Award Dinner has raised millions of dollars for medical education since 1950. Individual tickets are $600; tables of 10 can be sponsored for $6,000 or $12,000. Tickets are a tax-deductible charitable donation to the extent allowed by law. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (312) 915-7662. For media inquiries, please contact Evie Polsley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (708) 417-5100.