The Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service was created in 1967 to honor Sen. William H. Benton on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as chairman and publisher of Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Benton Medal recognizes persons who have rendered distinguished public service in the field of education.
The committee considers eligible recipients to include not only teachers but also educational administrators, museum directors, librarians, officers of learned societies, foundation executives, philanthropists, broadcasters and publishers -- that is, anyone who has contributed in a systematic and distinguished way to shaping minds and disseminating knowledge.
Nominations for the Benton Medal are submitted and voted on by several faculty ruling bodies. Benton Medalists are invited to receive their awards at the annual Convocation ceremony in June, and to give a public lecture or workshop during the following academic year.