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The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation announced the recipients of this years Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards, to be celebrated at a luncheon May 19. Youll probably recognize them:
- Eric R. Kandel, MD, won a Nobel Prize in 2000 for his studies in the molecular basis of memory. He immigrated from Vienna as a child in 1939, after Germany annexed Austria.
- Football legend and Hall of Fame member Joe Namaths father and maternal grandparents immigrated from Hungary.
- Jerry Seinfeld, of course, is a comedian, television star and producer. I also credit him with helping Seinfeld fans instantly bond over entire conversations consisting solely of quotes from the show. His maternal grandparents came from Syria.
- Gloria and Emilio Estefan, formerly of the band Miami Sound Machine and now, respectively, a singer and music producer, will receive the BC Forbes Peopling of America Award. Both fled Cuba with their families after the rise of Fidel Castro.
The awards honor immigrants (through Ellis Island or another port) and their descendants who’ve made significant contributions to the American experience. Read more about the honorees at EllisIsland.org.