2018 Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life

The seventh annual Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life was awarded to Texas Congressmen Will Hurd (R) and Beto O’Rourke (D) for their “bipartisan road trip” last year, when the two congressmen from opposing parties live-streamed collegial discussions on the divisive issues of the day over a 1,600-mile drive from Texas to the Capitol.

Civility Prize Ceremony – July 17, 2018

Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr. and Governor Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and a 2012 Allegheny College honorary degree recipient, awarded the 2018 Prize at an event on July 17, 2018 in Washington.

About the 2018 Civility Prize

What happens when two Texas congressmen from opposing parties live-stream a 1,600-mile roadtrip from Texas to the Capitol?


The congressmen’s road trip — amplified through Facebook and Periscope — received national attention. Immigration, healthcare and hamburgers were among the topics discussed by Rep. Hurd and Rep. O’Rourke during the more-than-24-hour trip to the nation’s capital that they took after winter weather canceled their flights.

The move inspired those following along on social media to share words of encouragement for the congressmen and gave a sense of hope for those navigating through this challenging political climate, with one commenter on Facebook noting, “This gives me faith for our country.”


In The News

Texas Senate Debate – October 16, 2018

Sen. Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke discussed civility during election season during their final debate.


October 16, 2018 – KENS-TV / mcclatchydc.com

PBS NewsHour


July 17, 2018 – PBS.org

Congressmen Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd win the “Civility and Public Life Award” after bipartisan roadtrip


July 17, 2018 – KXAN – Austin, TX

Civility award goes to Texas buddies Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd, as each scraps for partisan win in the fall

“It’s a tale of two congressmen, mired in tough partisan brawls and yet rising above the divisiveness enough to be crowned Tuesday with an award for civility.”


July 17, 2018 – Read More: Dallas Morning News

El Paso lawmakers Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd win award for bipartisan road trip

“It’s pretty wild that millions of people actually tuned in and watched two guys driving a car,” Hurd said on Tuesday. “But for those 36 hours — 36-hour trip, 31 hours in the car and 29 hours live streamed — we actually weren’t a Republican and a Democrat. We were just two dudes trying to get to work.”


July 17, 2018 – Read More: El Paso Times

Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd road trip wins them ‘Civility in Public Life’ award

“It was an unlikely ‘bromance’ of two Texas congressmen, one a Republican, the other a Democrat. […] Organizers said O’Rourke and Hurd were picked not only for their road trip but also for their ability to work collaboratively on important legislation since then.”


July 17, 2018 – Read More: Houston Chronicle



News Release – July 17, 2018

AC horz

‘Bipartisan Road Trip’ Inspires Allegheny College to Honor Texas Congressmen Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd with the 2018 Prize for Civility in Public Life

July 17, 2018 (Washington, DC) – Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr. presented the 2018 Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life to Texas Congressmen Will Hurd (R) and Beto O’Rourke (D) for their “bipartisan road trip” last year, when the two congressmen from opposing parties live-streamed collegial discussions on the divisive issues of the day over a 1,600-mile drive from Texas to the Capitol.

“The Bipartisan Road trip gives us all hope that civility is not dead,” shared Mullen. “To the contrary, the torch of championing civility in public life is being passed on – from great Americans like Gov. Ridge and previous winners of our Prize such as Joe Biden and John McCain to a new generation of leaders represented so powerfully by Will Hurd and Beto O’Rourke.”

The congressmen’s road trip — amplified through Facebook and Periscope — received national attention. Immigration, healthcare and hamburgers were among the topics discussed by Rep. Hurd and Rep. O’Rourke during the more-than-24-hour trip to the nation’s capital that they took after winter weather canceled their flights.

“They reminded us of an important legacy in American democracy: that there can be joy in politics; that in the contest of ideas and partisan competition there can be laughter and even friendship.”

The move inspired those following along on social media to share words of encouragement for the congressmen and gave a sense of hope for those navigating through this challenging political climate, with one commenter on Facebook noting, “This gives me faith for our country.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to receive the same award bestowed on leaders like the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Senator John McCain and the women of the Senate. Just as they have demonstrated before me, we must be able to disagree without being disagreeable to ensure that the competition of ideas that has powered this experiment called America continues to work,” said US Representative Will Hurd (TX-23). “Furthermore, if we live in a society where the pursuit of mutual understanding is no longer a virtue, then our enemies will be able to exploit the resulting divide.”

“The urgent concerns we’re hearing across all 254 counties of Texas are too critical to abandon civility, decency and bipartisanship for anything that could otherwise divide us,” said Congressman O’Rourke (TX-16). “It’s an honor to receive this award and now we must come together as Texans, as Americans to get after the big, bold, important work ahead of our country.”

Allegheny College created its national Prize for Civility in Public Life in 2011 to recognize two public figures, one from the left and one from the right, who argue passionately but with civility for their beliefs.

“The conversations in Washington are becoming increasingly divided and instances of civility are becoming rare,” said Governor Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and advisor to the civility prize. “The congressmen used their road trip as an opportunity to lead by example and publicly showed how we should be having these important conversations. The prize seeks to celebrate civility when we see it rather than lament its absence, in hopes that others will be inspired to hold themselves to a higher standard.”

Previous winners of the national award include: the remarkable friendship of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Antonin Scalia in 2017; then-Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who were recognized in 2016 for the powerful moments of civility they displayed during a modern presidential campaign; and the “Women of the U.S. Senate,” who were honored in 2014 for banding together to help end a government shutdown and creating a more civil climate in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about the Prize for Civility in Public Life, visit Allegheny College’s website.

One of the nation’s oldest liberal arts colleges, Allegheny College celebrated its bicentennial in 2015. A selective residential college in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Allegheny is one of 40 colleges featured in Loren Pope’s “Colleges That Change Lives.” Allegheny College is known nationally as a place where students with unusual combinations of interests, skills and talents excel. In its 2018 rankings, U.S. News & World Report recognized Allegheny among the top six Most Innovative national liberal arts colleges in the country.

Media Advisory – July 17, 2018

AC horz

‘Bipartisan Road Trip’ Inspires Allegheny College to Honor Texas Congressmen Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd with the 2018 Prize for Civility in Public Life

July 17, 2018 (Washington, DC) – Today Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr. will present the 2018 Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life to Texas Congressmen Will Hurd (R) and Beto O’Rourke (D) for their “bipartisan road trip” last year, when the two congressmen from opposing parties live-streamed collegial discussions on the divisive issues of the day over a 1,600-mile drive from Texas to the Capitol.

The ceremony will take place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., at 11 a.m. today, July 17 and both congressmen will offer remarks during the presentation. Your coverage is welcome. If you’re interested in attending, please contact khayn@a-g.com or steve@SRACommunications.com. The event will also be live-streamed here.

Allegheny College created its national Prize for Civility in Public Life in 2011 to recognize two public figures, one from the left and one from the right, who argue passionately but with civility for their beliefs.

Previous winners of the national award include: the remarkable friendship of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Antonin Scalia in 2017; then-Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who were recognized in 2016 for the powerful moments of civility they displayed during a modern presidential campaign; and the “Women of the U.S. Senate,” who were honored in 2014 for banding together to help end a government shutdown and creating a more civil climate in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about the Prize for Civility in Public Life, visit Allegheny College’s website.

One of the nation’s oldest liberal arts colleges, Allegheny College celebrated its bicentennial in 2015. A selective residential college in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Allegheny is one of 40 colleges featured in Loren Pope’s “Colleges That Change Lives.” Allegheny College is known nationally as a place where students with unusual combinations of interests, skills and talents excel. In its 2018 rankings, U.S. News & World Report recognized Allegheny among the top six Most Innovative national liberal arts colleges in the country.

About the Honorees