January 18, 2023

Carly Colombo
484-385-2934 (office)
[email protected]

John F. Crowley, Executive Chairman and Founding CEO of Amicus Therapeutics, to Receive 2023 Horatio Alger Award 

Horatio Alger Association names 13 outstanding individuals, each of whom has overcome adversity to achieve professional and personal success, to its Member Class of 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 18, 2023) – Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that John F. Crowley, executive chairman and founding CEO of Amicus Therapeutics, has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Crowley joins 12 other exceptional business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2023 honors. For 76 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon esteemed individuals who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to education and charitable efforts in their communities. 

Mr. Crowley was born in Northern New Jersey in a working class community. His father was a police officer and his mother worked as a waitress and a secretary. Mr. Crowley experienced a lifechanging event at the age of seven when his father died in a tragic accident while on duty. He and his mother and four-year-old brother then lived with his maternal grandparents in a two-bedroom, one bath home that his grandfather had built after World War II. Despite the difficulties he faced, Mr. Crowley focused on his studies. A dedicated student, he went on to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and earn a degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, a JD from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Mr. Crowley then began working in the business world before once again receiving news that would alter the course of his family, life and career.

In 1998, two of Mr. Crowley’s children were diagnosed with Pompe disease, a rare and often fatal neuromuscular disorder. Rather than accept the diagnosis as terminal, Mr. Crowley left his job at the age of 31, mortgaged his home, and dedicated his life to saving his children. He worked tirelessly to raise $27 million in venture capital and ultimately co-founded a start-up biotech company that saved his children’s lives, and the lives of thousands of others. After selling that company to a larger biotechnology firm, he then started Amicus Therapeutics with the vision to create one of the most successful global biotechnology companies in the world to develop and deliver medicines for rare and devastating diseases. Amicus now employs over 500 people in more than 24 countries. Today, Mr. Crowley’s children living with Pompe disease, Megan and Patrick, are now 26 and 24 years old. They continue to defy the odds thanks to their father’s determination and love – and the miracles of modern medicine. Megan is a 2019 graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

“The commitment Mr. Crowley has shown not only toward his family, but to all families receiving devastating medical diagnoses, is extraordinary,” said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director, Horatio Alger Association. “His ability to persevere and find purpose through multiple adversities demonstrates what it means to be a Horatio Alger Member. He is an excellent example for our Scholars and we are honored to welcome him into the Association.”

In addition to Mr. Crowley’s contributions to advancements in the medical research field, which served as the inspiration for the 2010 major motion picture Extraordinary Measures, starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser, he is a significant supporter of humanitarian, international and national causes. John served as a commissioned intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 2005-2016, assigned to the United States Special Operations Command, and is a veteran of the global war on terrorism, with service in Afghanistan. He and his wife, Aileen, were named as the Philanthropists of the Year in 2022 by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. The Crowley Family was given the 2011 Family Exemplar Award from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Crowley also received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame, where he delivered the Commencement Address for the Class of 2020.

“I have seen firsthand the good that people are capable of when working toward a common goal with passion, love and determination,” said Mr. Crowley. “I am honored and humbled to join the many Members who are helping lift up future generations of leaders. Education and learning have been an integral part of my life, and I’m proud to assist Scholars achieve their goals through higher education.”

Since 1984, the Association has awarded annual need-based scholarships to high school students who have displayed dedication to pursuing higher education despite significant obstacles throughout their lives. The Association also aims to educate young people about the endless opportunities available by the free-enterprise system through commitment, honesty, and diligence. The scholarships are made possible through the Association thanks to the generosity of its Members, who will have collectively provided more than $245 million to 35,000 students by 2023.  

“Each year, it is our utmost honor to present outstanding leaders who have displayed extraordinary perseverance in overcoming challenges with the Horatio Alger Award,” said James F. Dicke II, chairman, Horatio Alger Association and 2015 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “Each of these incredible leaders has also shared their success with others, giving generously to important causes and communities in need. The 2023 awardees exemplify the Association’s mission and are proof that the American Dream is within reach for all who seek it.”

Mr. Crowley and the Member Class of 2023 will be formally inducted into the Association during the Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. from March 30 through April 1, 2023. The three-day event is an annual ceremony to honor both the achievements of Members and National Scholars, who will have multiple opportunities to meet, interact and exchange stories of perseverance. 

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2023, please visit and follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:  

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2022, the Association awarded more than $16 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships to over 1,600 students across the United States and Canada, and provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. By the 40thanniversary of the Association’s scholarship program in 2024, more than $259 million will be awarded in undergraduate, graduate, military veteran and career and technical education scholarships to more than 37,000 deserving students. For more information, please visit