Allegheny College Launches Civility Award

National Liberal Arts College Calls for Nominations

Jan 25, 2011, 12:38 ET from Allegheny College

MEADVILLE, Pa., Jan. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Allegheny College, one of the nation's oldest liberal arts colleges, today announced the launch of its Civility Award, which seeks to honor elected officials who showed authentic, courageous civility in an important moment and/or those who have demonstrated steadfast respect for opposing points of view throughout their career.

Nominations are currently being accepted for this inaugural award. Two awards will be given each year – one to a Republican and one to a Democrat.

"We aren't looking for individuals who sit on the sidelines, away from the fray," said Jim Mullen, Allegheny College President. "We want to honor passionate partisans on both sides of the aisle, women and men who showed noteworthy civility while continuing to fight for their beliefs and values."

"Media focus often flocks to the uncivil. But our honorees will model behavior that America dearly wants and needs to see," said President Mullen. "Allegheny has been working on this initiative for the past year, because our academic research shows America craves greater civility. And because Allegheny has a long tradition of leadership in this important arena."

All nominations will be examined by a diverse and prominent committee. The Civility Award Committee includes:

  • Christian Allison, former CEO, Tollgrade Communications and Allegheny College trustee
  • Molly Corbett Broad, American Council on Education President
  • Mark Campbell, Ridge Policy Group Partner, former Chief of Staff to PA Gov. Tom Ridge and Allegheny College trustee
  • Tony Dias, Jones Day Partner
  • E.J. Dionne, Jr., Washington Post Columnist
  • Jane Earll, Pennsylvania State Senator
  • Mark Gearan, Hobart and William Smith College President
  • Katie Janocsko, Senior Political Science major at Allegheny College and Student Fellow at the Center for Political Participation
  • Chris Potter, Pittsburgh City Paper Editor
  • Charles Queenan Jr., K&L Gates Partner
  • Tim Reeves, Neiman Group CEO, former Press Secretary to PA Gov. Tom Ridge and Allegheny College trustee
  • Tom Ridge, Former Governor of Pennsylvania
  • Daniel M. Shea, Allegheny College Professor and Center for Political Participation Director
  • David Shribman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Vice President and Executive Editor
  • Eddie Taylor, Oswald Companies Vice President and Allegheny College Board of Trustees Chairman
  • Dan Thomasson, former Editor, Scripps Howard News Service
  • Robert Woodworth, Advance Publications Special Advisor, former Publisher and President, Kansas City Star and Allegheny College trustee

The Civility Award Committee will make recommendations to President Mullen. Then, President Mullen and Allegheny College will determine the two winners who will be announced in Washington, D.C. later this year.

The Center for Political Participation at Allegheny College, under the direction of Professor Daniel Shea, has commissioned and analyzed three national surveys to further explore the deterioration of civility in our political processes and, particularly, its impact on voters. In Allegheny College's March 2010 survey of 1,000 adults from across the country, 95 percent of Americans said that they believe civility in politics is important for a healthy democracy, and 87 percent suggested it is possible for people to disagree about politics respectfully. The most recent survey in November also revealed that 63 percent of Americans feel that the tone in politics is becoming less civil.

"While politicians and experts debate the causes and impacts of the deterioration in political civility, it's heartening to see that Americans agree coarseness and lack of respect are unacceptable," said Shea. "This award aims to highlight individuals who are proving that it is possible to speak their mind without being vicious and mean-spirited – even in today's highly-charged political climate."

Allegheny College is currently accepting nominations for the 2011 Civility Award. A nomination form, along with more information on the award and Allegheny College's work on civility in politics, can be found at

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 will celebrate its 200th anniversary of learning at its picturesque campus in 2015.

About the Center for Political Participation at Allegheny College

In October 2002 Allegheny College established the Center for Political Participation, a national center dedicated to encouraging greater political involvement among young people by fostering an appreciation for the vital link between an engaged, active citizenry and a healthy democracy. Seeking new strategies and mechanisms for promoting political participation, the Center has established programs for three audiences – Allegheny students (campus activities), scholars nationwide (scholarly research) and citizens of the wider community (educational outreach). In November 2007, the Center founded the Soapbox Alliance, a group of institutions that are committed to ending the practice of holding closed campaign events in campus facilities. Former President Clinton endorsed the Soapbox Alliance in a speech he made at Allegheny on April 19, 2008.


Ingela Hartman


SOURCE Allegheny College