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  October 22, 2001

Gejdenson to Receive University Medal

Sam Gejdenson, who was the Democratic Congressman from the Second District for 20 years, will receive the University Medal on Wednesday in a ceremony at South Campus.

Gejdenson was selected by a committee that included University administrators, members of the Senate and the Board of Trustees, and students, to receive the medal for his distinction in public service and for demonstrating outstanding achievement and leadership over a period of years.

"Sam Gejdenson is one of UConn's own, having graduated from the University in 1970. A man who was determined to enter politics from a young age, he is an example to our students and alumni of how success can follow determination and hard work," said President Philip E. Austin. "We are indeed proud of him and grateful for his service to the University, especially during the years he served Connecticut in Congress."

Gejdenson, who represented the Second District from 1981 to 2000, donated his papers last year to the Dodd Center, including files on the Mashantucket Pequot Settlement Act, defense diversificatio n, and environmental issues. The collection includes correspondence, reports, news clippings, press releases, speeches, committee and issue files, and audiovisual materials.

The first child of Holocaust survivors to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Gejdenson was born in 1948 in an American displaced persons camp in Eschwege, Germany. He grew up on a dairy farm in Bozrah, earned an A.S. degree from Mitchell College in New London in 1968 and a B.A. in political science from UConn in 1970. In 1974, he was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives, serving two terms before accepting a post in the administration of Gov. Ella T. Grasso.

He is known as a passionate advocate for children, senior citizens, and working families. He fought to bring modern technology to schools and to make college more affordable. He worked to enhance retirement security, to create jobs in the United States by promoting the export of American-made goods and services, and to protect the environment.

Gejdenson, who was defeated by Republican Robert Simmons last November, had served as co-chairman of the Democratic Task Force on Retirement Security and was the Senior Democrat on the Committee on International Relations.

His other committee appointments include the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, Joint Library Committee, Committee on House Administration, and several task forces.

Karen A. Grava

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