News Release

CME Group Chairman Emeritus Melamed to Receive the 2008 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Fri May 09 2008


CHICAGO, May 9, 2008 – Leo Melamed, Chairman Emeritus for CME Group, will be among this year’s recipients of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor given by the National Ethnic Coalition (NECO) on May 10, 2008, in New York City. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is awarded to outstanding Americans who have distinguished themselves as citizens of the United States and have enabled their ancestry groups to maintain their identities while becoming integral parts of American life.

This year’s 100 recipients will also include former US Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell; Gen. Duncan J. McNabb – US Air Force Vice Chief of Staff; Human Rights Activist and Genocide Survivor Advocate Jacqueline Murekatete; Country Entertainer Randy Owen; NYT-best-selling author and health expert Dr. Mehmet Oz; Pittsburg Steelers Owner Dan Rooney; Actor and Founder “Operation Iraqi Children” Gary Sinise; and WWII Veteran, Olympian & Motivational Speaker Louis Zamperini. 


They will receive their awards at the annual ceremony filled with patriotic pageantry at Ellis Island followed by a gala reception in Ellis Island’s Great Hall. The evening’s events will be capped by a spectacular fireworks display in New York Harbor.


In accepting the honor, Melamed stated, "I am grateful to receive this award and to be honored along with so many distinguished individuals – past and present. Ellis Island is a powerful symbol for courage; optimism; opportunity; freedom; and much more. So many immigrants have come to America to realize and achieve their dreams and I am one of them. I am grateful to my family, friends and colleagues who have supported me to strive and achieve my personal best over the years.”


“Leo Melamed joins an esteemed list of Americans who have been honored for fostering goodwill and making their communities and the world a better place,” explains National Ethnic Coalition Executive Director Rosemarie Taglione. “He is a pioneer in the financial services industry with an entrepreneurial spirit.”


“Leo Melamed exemplifies the American Dream. I congratulate him for his contributions to the financial community and thank him for his continued efforts that touch the lives of so many,” Nasser J. Kazeminy, NECO Co-Chairman, added.


The 2008 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients participated in a first-of-its-kind project that partnered NECO with Zentangle, Inc. founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas to create an actual mosaic that links each medalist to one another and serves as a visual metaphor that illustrates how each medalist’s qualities contribute to the collective American mosaic. To view the “Our American Mosaic,” created by the Medalists and their families, and other Ellis Island Medal of Honor-inspired Zentangle™ images go to


Established in 1986 by NECO, the Ellis Island Medals of Honor pay tribute to the ancestry groups that comprise America’s unique cultural mosaic. To date, more than 1,000 American citizens, including former Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon; Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William Rehnquist; Muhammad Ali; Rosa Parks; Elie Wiesel; Frank Sinatra; Bob Hope; Her Excellency Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly; and Quincy Jones, have received medals.


Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients are selected each year through a national nomination process. Screening committees from NECO’s member organizations select the final nominees, who are then considered by the Board of Directors. Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have officially passed resolutions recognizing the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, which rank among this country’s most prestigious awards. Each year, Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients are listed in the Congressional Record, honoring those who have made enduring contributions to our nation and to the world.


NECO’s mission is to create the world of the future today, by honoring our diverse past, advocating for positive change in the present, and building strong leaders for the future. The foundation partners with a wide variety of organizations, both national and international. It supports diverse ethnic cultural events, sponsors life-saving surgery for children, assists emergency relief efforts worldwide, and produces educational materials and programs that mentor youth to become the leaders of tomorrow. NECO continues its long-standing commitment to Ellis Island, including a pledge to raise $2 million for The Peopling of America® Center – an exhibit that will expand upon the Ellis Island years of immigration with a special focus on the stories of the New Americans.


For a full list of the 2008 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Awardees, go to


CME Group ( is the world’s largest and most diverse derivatives exchange. Formed by the 2007 merger of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), CME Group serves the risk management needs of customers around the globe. As an international marketplace, CME Group brings buyers and sellers together on the CME Globex electronic trading platform and on its trading floors. CME Group offers the widest range of benchmark products available across all major asset classes, including futures and options based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, agricultural commodities, and alternative investment products such as weather and real estate. CME Group is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ under the symbol “CME.” 


The Globe logo, CME, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, CME Group, Globex and E-mini, are trademarks of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. CBOT and Chicago Board of Trade are trademarks of the Board of Trade of the City of Chicago. These trademarks are used herein under license. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Further information about CME Group and its products can be found at  

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