Brazil bestows top civilian honor on Oglethorpe alumnus and trustee

Alumnus bestowed civic award

In early 2017, alumnus and trustee Cemal Özgörkey ’84 was named to the Order of Rio Branco by the Government of Brazil as a civil servant and honorary consul.

A citizen of Turkey, Özgörkey was formally inducted during an October 17 ceremony in Istanbul, where he was presented with the Rio Branco Medal. Özgörkey is the chairman of Özgörkey Holding and a member of Oglethorpe’s Board of Trustees.

Members of the Brazilian and Turkish governments were in attendance for the medal presentation. Turkish-American businessman and chairman and former Coca-Cola Company CEO Muhtar Kent sent a congratulatory video presented at the ceremony.

Rio Branco Medal

The Order of Rio Branco was established with the objective of distinguishing meritorious service and civic virtues. Named in tribute to the patron of the Brazilian diplomacy, the Baron of Rio Branco, José Maria da Silva Paranhos Junior. José Paranhos is a national hero in Brazil with his legacy coming from the peaceful settlement of border disputes with neighboring countries, which resulted, to a large extent, in the current outline of the Brazilian territory.

Özgörkey’s brother, Armagan Özgörkey ’84, is also an Oglethorpe alumnus. The Lupton Hall bell tower is named in honor of their mother, Lale Özgörkey, in recognition of a generous gift from the Özgörkey family towards the Turner Lynch Campus Center.


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