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The Horatio Alger Association Expresses Gratitude in Memory of Ed McMahon
Association Extols Contributions of Member for More Than Two Decades
WASHINGTON – (July 1, 2009) – The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans expresses its sincere gratitude and praise regarding the work and commitment of television legend Ed McMahon, a member of the association. McMahon provided outstanding service and dedication to the association for 25 years.
“Ed McMahon was an exceptional individual. We are immensely proud and grateful for his commitment and support of the Horatio Alger Association,” said David L. Sokol, president of the Horatio Alger Association. “He demonstrated a real energy and dedication to the association for more than two decades. As emcee and executive producer of our annual awards events, he shared his leadership and professional talents with us. But more importantly, he served as a role model to our scholars.”
“Ed remained steadfast in his commitment to the association and its young scholars,” said Horatio Alger Chairman Emeritus Dennis R. Washington. “He hosted special events for Horatio Alger scholars and he was always available to meet with them in small group sessions during the annual Horatio Alger Awards. Ed McMahon represented our membership in its truest form and supported the long-term interests of the association.”
McMahon was inducted as a member of the Horatio Alger Association in 1984 and served on its board of directors since 1996. In 1997, he began to serve as master of ceremonies of the annual Horatio Alger Awards events, and in 2002, he took on the additional responsibilities of serving as executive producer of the ceremonies. In 2003, McMahon was presented with the Norman Vincent Peale Award, which honors exceptional Horatio Alger members for their ongoing involvement in association activities, their humanitarian contributions to society, and their service as role models of courage, tenacity, and integrity in the face of great challenges.
McMahon’s own Horatio Alger story is a significant one. In his youth, his family moved from town to town and, by the time he settled permanently with his grandparents in Lowell, Massachusetts, he had attended 15 different schools. He sold pots and pans door to door to make a living. He became entranced with radio, and by age 11 he was practicing his announcer techniques by reading Time magazine aloud into a flashlight. After working on the sound truck for a traveling carnival, he landed his first job at age 17, as a radio announcer with a local station.
McMahon defended our country in both World War II and the Korean War as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Marines. He earned six air medals and attained the rank of colonel when he retired from the Marines. Valuing higher education, Ed McMahon earned a degree from Catholic University before continuing with a career in communications. He soon became known as “Mr. Television” while he hosted, wrote and produced more than a dozen television shows. He went on to become the host of Who Do You Trust? starring Johnny Carson, and four years later he started co-hosting Carson’s The Tonight Show, which lasted 30 years and 5,000 episodes. The show earned four Emmys.
The Ed McMahon family has requested that charitable donations be made to the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, and three other organizations, in lieu of flowers.
About The Horatio Alger Association
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans continues to fulfill its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. The Horatio Alger Association offers three annual scholarship programs: the National Scholarship Program, State Scholarship Programs, and Graduate Grants. The association awards nearly $7 million annually in college scholarships and has given more than $63 million to deserving students since 1984. The association is a 2008 Combined Federal Campaign participant, ID# 77062. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.