Local Music Executive Awarded Ellis Island Medal of Honor

By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter

Palisadian Will Tanous was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor on May 13 during the 34th annual ceremony on Ellis Island in New York Harbor.

Tanous is the executive vice president of communications for the Universal Music Group and a member of the company’s executive board. In 1996, Tanous co-created and produced “Reverb,” an HBO series that highlighted emerging talent.

The medal of honor is an annual award given to U.S. citizens “who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life,” according to a press release.

“Honorees may be native-born or naturalized, but most importantly, they are individuals who have made it their mission to share their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity with those less fortunate,” the award’s website explained.

Tanous, a Lebanese-America, gained recognition for his role in managing UMG’s worldwide communications across 60 countries. He is also involved in the creation of public policy, investor and government relations, and special projects.

At the ceremony, Ellis Island is closed to the public as honorees and guests arrive via a private ferry.

The opening ceremony is put on by more than 300 service members, including a joint-service color guard that represents all five branches of the military. Medalists, including Tanous, accepted their honor on stage in front of their family and friends in the island’s Great Hall.

Other recipients of the award include several presidents, supreme court justices, and prominent athletes and activists.

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