National Geographic : 1954 Jul
64 National ueograpnlc rnotograpner a. aylor nooerts President Eisenhower Presents the Hubbard Medal to Everest's Conquerors Eight Presidents have honored the National Geographic Society by bestowing its Hubbard or Special Gold Medals upon such noted explorers as Peary, Amundsen, Shackleton, and Byrd. Here the present Chief Executive congratulates Sir Edmund Hillary (shaking hands) and Brigadier Sir John Hunt, C.B.E ., D.S.O ., leader of the British Everest Expedition, during ceremonies on February 11, 1954, at the White House. From left: British Ambassador Sir Roger Makins, Dr. Thomas W. McKnew, Dr. Melville Bell Grosvenor, Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor, and (far right) New Zealand Ambassador Leslie Munro. Others present included Robert V. Fleming, treasurer, and Leroy A. Lincoln, trustees of The Society; Charles Evans, George Lowe, and James Morris of the Everest team; and Elliott B. Macrae of the American Everest Committee. « T is a great honor to serve on behalf Sof the National Geographic Society in carrying out this pleasant duty." With these words, President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented The Society's Hubbard Medal, its highest honor, to the British expe dition which climbed Mount Everest in 1953. The President congratulated Sir John Hunt "upon carrying through an expedition which has excited the admiration of the entire world." In accepting the award in behalf of the expedition, Sir John said, "We are not exactly surprised that in this great country of yours so much store is set on an enterprise such as the ascent of Mount Everest, which is the epitome of adventure and high endeavor." President Eisenhower also handed bronze replicas of the gold original as personal awards to Sir John and to Sir Edmund Hillary. A replica was personally presented to Tenzing Norkey in India by United States Ambassador George Allen. The Royal Geographical So ciety and the Alpine Club, expedition cospon sors, also received duplicates. Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor, president of the National Geographic Society, thanked Mr. Eisenhower for the encouragement he gave to The Society's mapping and scientific pro grams both as World War II Allied Com mander in Europe and later as President of Columbia University. "And now today," he continued, "you en able the 2,150,000 members of The Society to give the greatest possible American dis tinction to the British Everest Expedition by presenting to them the Hubbard Medal." The Everest lecture delivered the next day by Sir John, Sir Edmund, Dr. Evans, and Mr. Lowe in Constitution Hall and illustrated with color photographs was one of the most suc cessful The Society has presented in the 66 years of its meetings. Attendance at the mati nee and evening performances totaled 7,200. In his introduction, Dr. Grosvenor termed the occasion one of the most memorable in the history of the National Geographic Society. "It is only to be compared," he said, "with the days when Robert Peary came to recount the discovery of the North Pole, Richard Byrd to describe his flights across the North and South Poles, and Charles Lindbergh to tell of his solo flight across the ocean."