NECO has always referred to our Medalists as family. It is with great sadness that we memorialize two remarkable journalists who, while working in extremely different fields, made equally indelible marks on their friends and fans. NECO is honored to have recognized their contributions with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor when they were alive and now we think their stories are worth sharing again, not only in memoriam, but to continue their legacy of inspiring the lives of others.
MIKE WALLACE ‘86
Mike Wallace will be remembered as one of America's most iconic journalists, a symbol of fairness and integrity in media. It was his voice that spoke to millions of Americans daily, reporting on breaking news that would become the history of our nation. He gained national prominence as one of the original hosts of CBS' 60 Minutes in 1968, he went on to report and shape such important stories as racism in America, the fall-out of the Vietnam conflict, and the growing threat of terrorism. Mike was nominated for the Medal by his old friend, David Wolper who produced both Mike's 1960s series Biography as well as the inaugural Ellis Island Medals of Honor ceremony. Having won more than 20 Emmys, 3 Peabodys, and countless other awards and accolades, he died at his residence in New Canaan, Connecticut on April 7, 2012.
BURT SUGAR ‘10
Burt Sugar was a larger than life character who lived the life he wrote about in his long career as a boxing writer and sports historian. He is often credited with playing a pivotal role in the popularity of boxing in the 1960s when he purchased Boxing Illustrated magazine, serving as its editor until 1973, before editing and publishing The Ring from 1979- 83. Burt wrote over 80 books in his lifetime, mostly on boxing and sports, but also co-authored a book on Harry Houdini with The Amazing Randi, showing another side of a man with a rich and varied interest in America's unsung popular entertainments. Famous for his trademark cigar clenched between his jaws, he contributed a monthly sports column to Smoke Magazine, a cigar lifestyle magazine and often portrayed himself in many sports-related movies such as Night and the City and Rocky Balboa. Burt Sugar passed on March 25, 2012, surrounded by his family, after a protracted battle with lung cancer.