President Travis Receives Two Prestigious Awards

President Travis Receives Two Prestigious Awards

President Travis Receives Two Prestigious Awards

On May 9, The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) awarded President Jeremy Travis the 2015 Ellis Island Medal of Honor at a ceremony held on Ellis Island, NY. Journalist Meredith Vieira, New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, U.S. Representative Ted Poe (R-TX), twelve members of the U.S. Military and the Police Washington, D.C. Chief Cathy L. Lanier were among the other 100 Americans selected to receive the prestigious award. 

According to NECO, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor “recognizes individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity; all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America.” 

"Each of these honorees represents traits that I admire in great Americans: the vision of a better world for all, the tenacity to overcome challenges, and the leadership and imagination to blaze their own trail,” NECO Chairman Nasser J. Kazeminy said in a news release.  

Earlier in the week, President Travis received the Amalia Betanzos Distinguished Service Award for service to New York City from Fedcap Rehabilitation Services – a nonprofit organization that helps veterans, people with disabilities, disconnected youth, ex-offenders and other individuals find meaningful employment – in recognition of his work on behalf of people leaving prison. The award is named for Amalia Betanzos, who led the Wildcat Service Corporation to bring the chronically unemployed into the labor force and breaking the cycle of poverty, addiction and crime.

One of the first research centers created under President Travis’s leadership at John Jay was the Prisoner Reentry Institute which aims to spur innovation and improve practice in the field of reentry. He has contributed to the understanding of reentry issues and incarceration policies with such publications as But They All Come Back: Facing the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry (Urban Institute Press, 2005), Prisoner Reentry and Crime in America (Cambridge University Press, 2005), and Prisoners Once Removed: The Impact of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families, and Communities (Urban Institute Press, 2003). He is chair of the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Research Council which in 2014 produced the seminal report, “The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences.” 

The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations was created on the conviction of its founders that the diversity of the American people is what makes this nation great. Its mission is to honor and preserve this diversity and to foster tolerance, respect and understanding among religious and ethnic groups.  Additionally, NECO continues its commitment to the restoration and maintenance of Ellis Island, a living tribute to the courage and hope of all immigrants. 

Founded in 1935, Fedcap creates opportunities for people with barriers to move toward economic independence as valued and contributing members of society. Each year Fedcap’s evaluation, vocational training, job placement and counseling services, and employment, support and advocacy programs, help more than 40,000 Americans, including veterans, overcome obstacles, rebuild their lives, and find and keep meaningful employment. For more information, visit:

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit