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MAS Honors Joan Ganz Cooney and Peter G. Peterson

joan kooney pete peterson jko medal

Hundreds of civic minded and philanthropic New Yorkers gathered last night as MAS presented the 2012 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal to Joan Ganz Cooney and Peter G. Peterson. Held at The New York Public Library, the event honored the couple for the role they have played in making New York a global capital of finance and education, as well as their many contributions to our city’s cultural life.

Mrs. Cooney, one of the visionaries and the chief moving forces behind the creation of Sesame Workshop, created the vibrant and diverse environment of Sesame Street, using the educational power of media to help children in New York and around the globe. Mr. Peterson, founder and chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and co-founder of The Blackstone Group, has contributed his time, expertise and resources to institutions that define New York as the global city, including the Council on Foreign Relations, The Museum of Modern Art, the Japan Society and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

President Bill Clinton was the 2012 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal honorary chair, and the honorary co-chairs were Caroline Kennedy and Dr. Henry A. Kissinger. Dinner co-chairs included Jane and Michael Hoffman, and Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols. Speaking at the event were MAS Chair Eugenie Birch, MAS President Vin Cipolla, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Diane Sawyer and MAS Board Member Michael Hoffman presented the medals to Mrs. Cooney and Mr. Peterson, respectively. The evening also featured a beautiful tribute to the couple directed by filmmaker Joel Schumacher, who was joined on stage by Diane Sawyer, Leslie Stahl and Liz Smith, as well as Elmo, Abby Cadaby and Cookie Monster, who together serenaded Peterson and Cooney with “As Time Goes By.”

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal, MAS’s highest honor, is presented annually to those whose work or deeds have made an outstanding contribution to New York City. The medal was named for Mrs. Onassis in 1994 in honor of her tireless efforts to preserve and protect New York’s great architecture.

The gala was followed by the second annual MAS After Dark after party, hosted by the MAS Urbanists. Featuring special guest DJs Timo & Alan of Timo Weiland, a SPiN New York hosted table tennis tournament and appearances by Project Runway designers, MAS After Dark brought out more than 400 young New Yorkers to get to know MAS.

“More than 800 New Yorkers took part in a last night’s wonderful tribute to Pete and Joan, their remarkable accomplishments and their admired standing as two of New York’s visionary civic leaders.” said MAS President Vin Cipolla.

Click here to see the photos online