Turner, the 74-year-old founder of CNN, received the award for applying the values he learned in the Coast Guard to his career and philanthropy.
The other honorees at the National Building Museum were Dan Akerson, the chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors Co. (GM) and a Navy veteran, and P.X. Kelley, the 28th commandant of the Marine Corps.
“We share a common understanding of service,” said Akerson.
Goat-cheese salad and beef tenderloin were served after the playing of songs of the marine service branches.
A moment of silence was observed for the Navy Yard shooting victims, who were slain just a short distance away.
Kelley, 84, said he has struggled with illness recently but was determined to attend the gala. “The mind is still a steel trap,” he said, after pushing a walker to get to the podium.
Don’t call James Gorman “Jim.”
“You do what your mother says,” Gorman said. “You never cross your mother.”
The guest of honor at a luncheon of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Gorman looked out upon a sea of gray suits packing the Ritz-Carlton ballroom as he shared the stage with Rubenstein, the club’s president.
Family seemed to be a recurring theme among the questions from Rubenstein, an only child. He was intrigued by Gorman’s growing up as one of 12 siblings.
The large brood forced Gorman “to relate to people who are sometimes difficult,” he said. “It’s just like today.”
Gorman still goes to Australia for reunions with the 71 people in his immediate family, including “32 nieces and nephews” at last count.
On the subject of how he and his wife invest their money, Gorman said, “We’re pretty boring.” He described their portfolio as “modest and unspectacular.” He did allow that they have municipal bonds and invest in a “small biotech fund,” which prompted Rubenstein to ask why they didn’t include private equity.
“You can never have enough private equity,” joked the Carlyle Group LP co-founder.
Gorman was optimistic on the U.S. economic outlook. “I’m more bullish than most Americans,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a recession. I think we’re in strong fundamental shape.”
French Ambassador Francois Delattre, BET Holdings LLC Chairman Debra Lee, and Democratic lobbyist Jack Quinn were among those present for the grilled beef medallion and Lyonnaise potatoes meal, with New York cheesecake for dessert.
At the start of the program, Rubenstein gave away $400,000 in grants to 10 Washington nonprofits in honor of the club’s 25th anniversary.
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