The medal was presented to Parseghian at University President Gregory Crawford's inauguration today.
“I have seen his commitment to social justice, I have seen him create change and I have followed his virtuous leadership,” Crawford said. “He exemplifies what it means to be a Miamian.”
The College Hall of Fame coach was honored for his contributions to the university and his service to the community. He exemplifies the university motto, "Prodesse Quam Conspici" or "to accomplish without being conspicuous."
A WWII Navy veteran, Parseghian enrolled at Miami in 1946. He played three sports while a student at Miami University: football, basketball and baseball. He played two years of professional football with the Cleveland Browns before returning to the university in 1950 as a football assistant.
When he became head coach, he guided the Miami football team to a 39-6-1 record and two Mid-American Conference championships. He spent five years at Miami as head coach, then eight at Northwestern and 11 at Notre Dame. During Parseghian's tenure at Notre Dame, he integrated the coaching staff and started the first African American as quarterback.
After retiring from coaching, Parseghian served on the Miami board of trustees from 1978 to 1987. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Cotton Bowl Classic Hall of Fame in 2007.
He founded the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation in 1994. The foundation is searching for a cure for Neimann-Pick disease Type C. The fatal genetic disorder, which causes cholesterol to build up in cells and damages the nervous system, affected three of his grandchildren.