The Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life was created in 2011 to annually recognize two political figures, one liberal and one conservative, 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 – and of the extraordinary impact that political commentators have on civility in U.S. political debate.
Allegheny College believes that neither party owns civility, nor is neither party to blame for its absence. The Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life 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. Each year, two awards will be given – one to a proud Republican and one to a proud Democrat. The award will be used to shine a bright light on passionate partisans, on both sides of the aisle, who have shown that meaningful civility is not incompatible with strongly held beliefs.
All nominations will be examined by a diverse and prominent award committee which will make recommendations to Allegheny College President Mullen. President Mullen and Allegheny College will then determine the two Civility Prize winners.