WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One of the nation's oldest liberal-arts colleges today honored the "Women of the Senate" – the 20 U.S. senators who banded together to help end the 2013 government shutdown – with the 2014 Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life. Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr. awarded the 2014 Prize at the National Press Club in Washington DC. U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the ranking Democrat and Republican members of the women of the Senate, accepted the award on the group's behalf.
Said Mullen: "Allegheny College is proud to award its 2014 Prize for Civility in Public Life to the twenty Women of the United States Senate for demonstrating the power of civility as they led Congress out of last Fall's government shutdown. In so doing, they showed us a better way – setting a high bar of bipartisan respect, willingness to listen, and ability to balance deeply held convictions with the civility necessary to get the business of our nation done."
Allegheny College created the Prize for Civility in Public Life in 2011 to highlight and reinforce the unheralded public figures who advance civility. The Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life annually recognizes two political figures, one from the left and one from the right, who argue passionately but with civility for their beliefs.
The inaugural award was bestowed at the National Press Club in February 2012 to political journalists David Brooks and Mark Shields, in recognition of their longstanding record of civil commentary. In 2013, the College awarded the Prize to Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) and Lindsey Graham (R) for their efforts to exemplify civility while leading debate in some of the most contentious issues of our time.
This year, Allegheny College judged that the most fitting recipient was the Women of the Senate.
"I'm so pleased to receive this tremendous award along with Senator Susan Collins on behalf of my bipartisan Senate women colleagues honoring our civility toward our colleagues and bipartisan efforts to move our country forward," said Senator Mikulski. "With a historic number of 20 Senate women with an historic amount of power chairing eight committees, we have continued to create a zone of civility to get the job done. Whether it's breaking budget gridlock, passing the Farm Bill, or passing a bill making sure America has clean water infrastructure, we are making real change. The Senate women know it's not about gender, it's about having an agenda. As Dean of the Senate women, I have faith the Senate women will continue to change the dialogue and change the tone in Washington to support jobs and families across America.
"We salute the College for establishing this award. Because in today's public discourse – whether it's in the arena of politics, whether its on cable news, the discourse is becoming dissident, discordant and I think dysfunctional."
"Addressing the real concerns of our citizens must be the focus of those of us elected to serve the public," said Senator Collins. "Unfortunately, for too many elected officials, achieving solutions is not the goal. Rather, it is to draw sharp distinctions and score political points, even if that means that the problems confronting our country go unresolved. I am honored to join Senator Mikulski in accepting the Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life on behalf of all the women of the Senate. While we span the ideological spectrum, and don't agree on every issue, we are committed to working together, across party lines, to offer solutions.
"As Allegheny College prepares to celebrate its bicentennial in 2015, I want to salute you for your focus on this very important issue. Because the rancorous state of public discourse in this country today has implications that are so serious for our country's ability to tackle the big challenges that we face."
Also providing remarks was former Pennsylvania Governor and the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, a friend of and advisor to Allegheny College and a champion of civility.
"We don't need narcissists, we don't need ideologues," said Ridge. "What we truly need in the 21st century are individuals who can conduct themselves in a manner the way the 20 women of the Senate did."
The states represented by the Women of the Senate are:
Alaska: Lisa Murkowski (R)
California: Barbara Boxer (D) and Dianne Feinstein (D)
Hawaii: Mazie Hirono (D)
Louisiana: Mary Landrieu (D)
Maine: Susan Collins (R)
Maryland: Barbara Mikulski (D)
Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren (D)
Michigan: Debbie Stabenow (D)
Minnesota: Amy Klobuchar (D)
Missouri: Claire McCaskill (D)
Nebraska: Deb Fischer (R)
New York: Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
New Hampshire: Kelly Ayotte (R) and Jeanne Shaheen (D)
North Carolina: Kay Hagan (D)
North Dakota: Heidi Heitkamp (D)
Washington: Maria Cantwell (D) and Patty Murray (D)
Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin (D)
For more information about the Prize for Civility in Public Life, please visit http://sites.allegheny.edu/civilityaward/.
About Allegheny College
Allegheny College is a national liberal arts college where 2,100 students with unusual combinations of interests and talents develop highly-valued abilities to explore critical issues from multiple perspectives. A selective residential college in Meadville, Pa., Allegheny is one of 40 colleges featured in Loren Pope's "Colleges That Change Lives" and is also featured in "Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College That Is Best for You" and Peterson's "Competitive Colleges, 400 Colleges That Attract the Best and the Brightest," among many other guidebooks. Allegheny is one of the nation's oldest liberal-arts colleges and will celebrate its 200th anniversary of learning at its picturesque campus in 2015.
For interview opportunities or more information, contact Zach Chizar at (717) 439-2182.
SOURCE Allegheny College