The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. bears the name of the renowned author Horatio Alger, Jr., whose tales of overcoming adversity through unyielding perseverance and basic moral principles captivated the public in the late 19th century. The Association, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit educational organization, was established in 1947 to dispel the mounting belief among the nation's youth that the American Dream was no longer attainable. Founder Kenneth J. Beebe, with strong support from his friend Norman Vincent Peale, hoped to inspire individual Americans to reach their highest potential, thereby strengthening American society as a whole. They created the Association to recognize men and women of outstanding achievement and to remind Americans of the limitless possibilities that exist through the free-enterprise system.
The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. As such, the Association honors the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and who are committed to supporting young people in pursuit of increased opportunities through higher education. Today, through its Members, the Association continues to educate our nation’s young people about the economic and personal opportunities afforded them by the promise of the American free-enterprise system. Through its scholarship programs, the Association encourages students to pursue their own version of the American Dream. While providing scholarship opportunities, the Association mentors its Scholars and underscores the importance of helping others. Members work directly to provide promising young people with the support, education and confidence needed to realize their aspirations.
Members of the Association are the select few who have been honored with the Horatio Alger Award. Horatio Alger Award recipients are dedicated community leaders who demonstrate individual initiative and a commitment to excellence as exemplified by remarkable achievements accomplished through honesty, hard work, self-reliance and perseverance over adversity. All potential Members must have a strong philanthropic commitment and be willing to contribute to the Association’s mission: providing scholarships for highly motivated but economically disadvantaged young people.
The Horatio Alger Awards Activities are held in Washington, D.C., each spring to present the Horatio Alger Award to the new Members inducted into the Association. Nearly 1,000 Members and guests attend the annual Awards Activities. Association Members, other individuals and organizations are invited to purchase tables for the induction ceremony dinner; if unable to attend, they are encouraged to make a general contribution in support of the Association's educational programs. These contributions, which are acknowledged in the Association’s printed materials, underwrite the programs offered by the Association throughout the year.
The Association remains steadfastly committed to its mission:
The Horatio Alger Association annually presents the International Horatio Alger Award to a citizen of another country. As with the Horatio Alger Award, recipients of this award must have overcome humble beginnings and/or adversity to achieve success. They serve as outstanding role models to the international community and are committed to the Association’s mission of encouraging and educating today’s young people. International Horatio Alger Award recipients are accorded the same rights and responsibilities of membership as their American counterparts.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, one of the most inspiring leaders of the 20th century, represented the heart and spirit of the Horatio Alger Association. As an Association Member for more than 40 years, Dr. Peale fostered the growth of the organization and provided leadership in his role as honorary chairman. In his memory, the Norman Vincent Peale Award is annually conferred on a Member who has made exceptional humanitarian contributions to society; who has been an active participant in the Association; and who continues to exhibit courage, tenacity and integrity in the face of great challenges. The following Association Members have received the Norman Vincent Peale Award: View Association Members who have received the Norman Vincent Peale Award
1996 Leonard L. Farber
1997 Association Membership celebrating 50th Anniversary
1999 Harry A. Merlo
2000 James R. Moffett
2001 Thomas S. Haggai
2002 Charles R. Scott
2003 Ed McMahon
2004 George L. Argyros
2005 Richard L. Knowlton
2006 John O. Hershey
2007 Association Membership celebrating 60th Anniversary
2008 H. Wayne Huizenga
2009 Walter Scott, Jr.
2010 Clarence Thomas
2011 William J. Doré
2012 Dennis R. Washington
2013 Joseph Neubauer
Spouses of Horatio Alger Members, referred to as Horatio Alger Life Partners, participate in the mission of the Association through the Horatio Alger Life Partners Program. One of the activities organized by Life Partners is a luncheon hosted during the Horatio Alger Awards events each year in Washington, D.C. The luncheon serves as a time for the Life Partners, Members and the newest National Scholarship recipients to learn more about the Association and one another. It is also an opportunity for representative Scholars to share their experiences and for all participants to learn more about recent achievements of the Horatio Alger Association.
Download the current Nomination Form for the Horatio Alger Award