Thomas P. Rosandich (right) and Jack Scharr (left)

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (right) receives the Statute of Liberty Club’s and The Wiegand Foundation’s Liberty Award from Jack Scharr (left) for his efforts to improve the sport profession around the globe. The award was presented Thursday, Nov. 10 during a special event on the university’s Daphne campus.

For all his contributions and service to improving sport education in the United States and around the world, Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich received the Liberty Medal.

The Liberty Medal presented by the Statue of Liberty Club and The Wiegand Foundation goes to individuals and organizations that do excellent work in promoting Freedom and Liberty throughout the world. Honorees receive the medal that shows August Bartholdi sculpting the Statue of Liberty and commemorates the Oct. 28, 2011, 125th anniversary of the dedication of the statue.

“It is my great pleasure to present Dr. Rosandich with the Liberty Medal, one of the first given,” said Jack Scharr, president of Fine Art Ltd which worked with the Statue of Liberty Club to commission Sculptor Don Wiegand to create the piece.

Dr. Rosandich is the founder and president of the United States Sports Academy. A native of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., and son of Croatian immigrants, he has led efforts in several capacities throughout his lifetime to enhance sport training and education around the world. As founder of the Academy in 1972, the institution that is well known as “America’s Sports University,” Dr. Rosandich has delivered sport-related services and education programs in more than 60 countries. From the beginning, the Academy’s general mission has been to serve the nation and the world as a sport education resource, upgrading sport through programs of instruction, research and service.

Through his career in the U.S. Marine Corp and with the U.S. State Department’s “Ambassadors of Sport” program, Dr. Rosandich was directly responsible for bringing the Peace Corps to Southeast Asia in the 1960s. As an American sports ambassador, he worked with athletes, coaches and programs in more than 50 countries. He also founded what is now called the South East Asia (SEA) Games.

Dr. Rosandich served as a coach or consultant in 10 different Olympic Games from the 1956 Melbourne Olympics to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. For his service to the Olympic Movement, he received the highest award of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Order, in 1997. He was bestowed the highest honor given by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) when he was awarded the President’s Medal in 2000. He also earned the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2008, which has recognized six Presidents and many other prominent Americans in science, business, sports and other fields.

“This prestigious Liberty Medal is particularly significant to me since my mother and father both came to this country through Ellis Island,” Dr. Rosandich said. “I am very honored to receive it. For 40 years, the Academy has devoted its efforts to improving the profession of sport in America and around the globe.”

Wiegand and The Wiegand Foundation, Inc., in Chesterfield, Mo., along with the Statue of Liberty Club recently created the Liberty Medal for the 125th anniversary. The new Liberty Medal has also been awarded recently to retired U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullens, Bob Hope posthumously and Francois Delattre, the ambassador of France to the United States.

In 1985, Wiegand was first commissioned to sculpt and cast a Bartholdi Sculpting Liberty piece for the 1986 reopening and centennial celebration of the Statue of Liberty. The first bronze cast is on exhibit at the Bob Hope Memorial Library on Ellis Island.

For the statue’s 120th anniversary, Wiegand sculpted a bas-relief of the Bartholdi Sculpting Liberty composition which was presented by the Statue of Liberty Club to Musée Bartholdi in Colmar, France. A bronze 100th anniversary Bartholdi medallion, patterned after the bas-relief, was commissioned by the Statue of Liberty Club and made available to club members worldwide.