Photographs courtesy of David Hume Kennerly




Betty Ford was the recipient of the 2005 Gerald R. Ford Medal for Distinguished Public Service.  President Ford presented the award at the annual dinner of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation at The Lodge at Rancho Mirage in Rancho Mirage, California on June 6, 2005.


"This will be a very special occasion for me, my family, our friends, and all of those people that have benefited from Betty's lifetime commitment to their welfare”, stated President Ford.  Ford went on to say that "her total dedication to openness, frankness, her real strong belief in equal rights for women, her handling of her breast cancer, her forthrightness of dealing with her chemical dependency are the strong character evidences of a lady I tremendously admire."


The medal is given annually to an individual who has served the public good in the private or public sector and was established by the Board of Trustees of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation in 2003. Previous recipients have been Alan Greenspan, Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.  According to Board Chairman, Martin J. Allen, Jr., "the criteria for the recipient are based on characteristics that President Ford demonstrated in his public service. They include courage, strength of character, integrity, diligence and determination in the face of adversity all of which have been characteristic of Betty Ford's commitment to public service."


The Gerald R. Ford Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation whose primary mission is to support the Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum through historical exhibits, educational programs, conference, research grants and awards.  In fulfilling its mission, the Foundation seeks to honor the principles and values demonstrated by President Ford throughout his public service career.  The Foundation also seeks to educate the public about the unique history and significant events of the Ford presidency.   Finally, the Foundation seeks to enhance public understanding of American history and government, particularly the presidency. For more information about the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, please contact 616-254-0396 or e-mail