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Directors of U-M Museum of Art, University MusicalL Society, and Center for Russian and East European Studies Awarded Medals by Russian Ambassador in Washington, DC for 2003 St. Petersburg Festival

March 26, 2004—James Steward, director of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Kenneth Fischer, president of University Musical Society, and Barbara Anderson, director of the U-M Center for Russian and East European Studies, received medals from the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States, His Excellency Yuri V. Ushakov, for their organization of the University of Michigan’s fall 2003 festival, Celebrating St. Petersburg: 300 Years of Cultural Brilliance. The formal awards ceremony—honoring those who have made significant contributions to Russian history and culture in commemoration of St. Petersburg’s 300th anniversary—took place on March 23, 2004 at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The ceremony began at 11am in an embassy stateroom with remarks by the Russian Ambassador, which he delivered on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir V. Putin. A champagne reception followed in the embassy ballroom. Both James Steward and Barbara Anderson were decorated with medals by Ambassador Ushakov; Kenneth Fischer was unable to attend the ceremony.

The gold medallion is decorated with the profile of Tsar Peter the Great, who founded St. Petersburg in 1703, and embellished with ribbons.

The University of Michigan’s St. Petersburg festival celebrated St. Petersburg’s 300th anniversary by showcasing the city’s magnificent cultural achievements through an exclusive exhibition at the Museum of Art, The Romanovs Collect: European Art from the Hermitage; an entire series of music, dance, and theater presented by the University Musical Society, including performances by the Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater, and Pushkin’s Boris Godunov; and a host of lectures, films, and workshops organized by CREES, including a groundbreaking symposium devoted to the legacy of choreographer George Balanchine and an LSA Theme Semester .

“It was an honor and a privilege to be awarded such a distinction by the Russian Federation,” said Dr. Steward. “It’s gratifying to see our festival recognized on a national and international level. The collaborative nature of our undertaking clearly elevated its level of achievement, embodying the kind of partnership that U-M can do so well. I share this distinguished award with the Ford Motor Company Fund, who so generously supported the landmark exhibition The Romanovs Collect, and with the entire staff at the Museum of Art.”

Other U.S. dignitaries awarded medals at the March 23 ceremony for their promotion of Russian cultural achievements on the occasion of St. Petersburg’s 300th anniversary included: Frederick Fisher, executive director of Hillwood Museum and Gardens in Washington, DC; Russian cultural historian Suzanne Massie; Russian scholar and author Priscilla Roosevelt; and Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD.

  • To visit the archived website of the Festival: www.umich.edu/stpetersburg
  • For more information on the U-M Museum of Art: www.umma.umich.edu
  • For more information on UMS: www.ums.org
  • For more information on the Center for Russian and East European Studies: www.umich.edu/~iinet/crees/