Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr. presented the second annual Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life in Pennsylvania to former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent and Democratic state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. The pair was presented with the prize for their efforts to work across the political aisle to get things accomplished for the betterment of the Commonwealth, an increasingly rare action in today’s hyper partisan climate.
The presentation was made during the 34th Annual PA Chamber Dinner in Hershey – an annual gathering of 2,000 political, business and labor leaders from across the Commonwealth.
News Release – October 1, 2018
Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale Honored With ‘Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life in Pennsylvania’ at 34th Annual Chamber Dinner
October 1, 2018 (Harrisburg, PA) – At tonight’s 34th Annual Chamber Dinner, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry was proud to partner with Allegheny College to present the second annual “Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life in Pennsylvania” award to former Republican U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent and Democratic state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. The pair was presented with the prize for their efforts to work across the political aisle to get things accomplished for the betterment of the Commonwealth, an increasingly rare action in today’s hyper partisan climate.
“As part of our Annual Dinner program, the PA Chamber is honored to partner with Allegheny College to recognize individuals who have displayed civility in political discourse,” said PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr. “Congressman Dent and Auditor General DePasquale have shown that despite serving in inherently political and partisan roles, it is possible to reach across the aisle to achieve bipartisan agreement on issues. They are wonderful examples of how to communicate your position in a respectful and civil manner, despite having philosophical differences with colleagues or other elected officials.”
Allegheny College, a 203-year-old national liberal arts college in Meadville, Crawford County, created its national Prize for Civility in Public Life in 2011. Presented annually at the National Press Club, the national award recognizes two public figures on the national stage – one liberal and one conservative – who argue with conviction and with civility for their beliefs. Previous award winners include the late Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and former Vice President Joe Biden; U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Antonin Scalia; and in 2018 Texas Congressmen Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd. This marks the second year that Allegheny College issued the award at the state level. Last year, seasoned political veterans Alan Novak and T.J. Rooney received the state prize.
“When politics works right, it is tough and partisan, but also joyous and fulfilling,” said Allegheny College President James Mullen, Jr. “It is filled with great characters who may not share much in terms of policy agreement but share a respect for each other, for the process and for the shared work they owe the nation. But particularly in the past decade, we have seen harmful signs in the level of civility in our national discourse – a decline that seems to be intensifying and a decline that we fear will drive Americans – particularly young people – from engagement in public life. So tonight we are particularly pleased to celebrate two individuals who have demonstrated civility throughout their distinguished careers in public service.”
Dent and DePasquale have both had long and varied political careers. During Dent’s nearly three decades in elected office – both on the state and federal levels – he developed a reputation for collaborating with both Republicans and Democrats to find bipartisan solutions on a variety of issues – including healthcare and immigration. Likewise, during his six years in the state legislature and throughout his ongoing tenure as Pennsylvania’s Auditor General, DePasquale has shown time and again his willingness to transcend party politics to bring accountability and transparency to state government.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized, along with Auditor General Gene DiPasquale, by Allegheny College with this prestigious civility award,” said former Congressman Dent. “Our politics in America is seriously fractured, and it is incumbent upon elected officials — especially legislators — to fulfill their most basic, fundamental responsibility of governing. Too often doing what must be done is subordinated to a paralyzing politics of the moment. We can and must do better. Allegheny College and other concerned organizations and institutions are helping by providing a political space and reward to those who aspire to make our Republic work more effectively and in keeping with the high ideals of our nation’s enlightened founders.”
“It is truly an honor to be recognized for promoting civility in public life,” said DePasquale. “I have always felt that you can be tough and civil at the same time and the two are not competing values. We must recognize that this is a broad and diverse country and through civil discourse we can reach consensus that benefits everyone. I want to thank Allegheny College and the Pennsylvania Chamber for working to promote the value of civility.”