2019 Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life

The eighth annual Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life was awarded to Congressmen Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) for their collaborative work toward criminal justice reform, which resulted in passage of the bipartisan First Step Act.

Civility Prize Ceremony – September 27, 2019

Allegheny College President Emeritus 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 2019 Prize at an event on September 27, 2019 in Washington.

In The News

‘Game Recognizes Game’: A Bipartisan Bond In The Age Of Impeachment

House lawmakers Hakeem Jeffries and Doug Collins couldn’t be more different.

Jeffries is a Democrat and an avid hip-hop devotee, while Collins is a Republican who favors country music. Jeffries hails from a largely urban New York district, and much further south, Collins represents a largely rural pocket in northeast Georgia.

Yet, somehow this duo found common ground to pass a major policy initiative this past year. And now one of the oldest schools in the country will award them with its College Prize for Civility in Public Life.

They sat down with NPR exclusively Thursday, a day before Allegheny College awards them the joint prize at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Read more at NPR.org

September 27, 2019 – NPR Morning Edition – npr.org
Photo courtesy of NPR

msnbc-logo-600x600Gov. Tom Ridge on MSNBC

“Democracy in the twenty-first century requires more civility. I would like my friends on the Hill to take a look at why we honored these men. […] They worked together; they got things done.”

September 27, 2019 – MSNBC.com



About the 2019 Civility Prize

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.


Brought together by their shared Baptist faith and love of music, Representatives Collins and Jeffries have partnered on several pieces of bipartisan legislation since both arriving in Congress in 2013.

In addition to the First Step Act – which helps the formerly incarcerated successfully reintegrate into work and society – Collins and Jeffries worked together on the passage of the Music Modernization Act, which updates copyright laws for songwriters.




News Release – September 27, 2019

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Allegheny College Presents U.S. Congressmen Collins and Jeffries with 2019 Prize for Civility in Public Life

Award Recognizes Colleagues for Collaboration Resulting in Federal Criminal Justice Reform

September 27, 2019 (Washington, DC) – Allegheny College President Emeritus James H. Mullen, Jr., today presented the 2019 Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life to U.S. Congressmen Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) for their collaborative work toward criminal justice reform, which resulted in passage of the bipartisan First Step Act.

“This friendship is an example America dearly needs right now,” said President Emeritus Mullen. “Representatives Collins and Jeffries are at different ends of the ideological spectrum, and their districts are as different as America herself. They disagree strongly on key issues but never demonize each other, and they look for opportunities when they can work together for America. They found that in criminal justice reform, and our nation is better for their work together – lifted up by their example.”

Brought together by their shared Baptist faith and love of music, Representatives Collins and Jeffries have partnered on several pieces of bipartisan legislation since both arriving in Congress in 2013. In addition to the First Step Act – which helps the formerly incarcerated successfully reintegrate into work and society – Collins and Jeffries worked together on the passage of the Music Modernization Act, which updates copyright laws for songwriters.

“Diversity in the marketplace of ideas is what makes this country the greatest on earth, but we must never lose sight of one fundamental principle: What unites us as Americans is far greater than anything that could ever divide us,” said Collins. “It’s an incredible honor to receive this award alongside my friend Hakeem Jeffries, and I’m thankful to Allegheny College for inspiring leaders to promote civility in public service.”

“Congressman Collins has a head for the work and a heart for the people. I think that combination really made it clear he’d be a great partner to try to get some things done here in Congress. I am honored to call him a friend and grateful for this honor,” said Jeffries.

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.

“Crossing what at first appear to be impossible political and personal divides, a proud Trump Republican and progressive Brooklynite have shown us what true civility looks like,” said Governor Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and advisor to the civility prize. “It is the responsibility of Congress to take on some of the most complex and divisive issues in America today, yet too often, partisanship stands in the way of progress. Representatives Collins and Jeffries have not only proven themselves to be rising stars on the House Judiciary committee, but as role models for their colleagues in Congress as well.”

Last year, the Prize for Civility in Public Life was awarded to Texas Congressmen Will Hurd and Beto O’Rourke for their captivating “Bipartisan Road Trip,” which showed the nation that political adversaries can disagree on issues spiritedly, but with civility.

Other 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-Ariz.), 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 also is one of the few colleges in the country that requires students to choose both a major and a minor, helping to cultivate intellectual growth and the creative, big-picture thinking desired by employers and graduate schools. In its 2020 rankings, U.S. News & World Report recognized Allegheny in the top 20 among all national liberal arts colleges for best undergraduate teaching.

Media Advisory – September 27, 2019

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Allegheny College to Honor U.S. Congressmen Collins and Jeffries with the 2019 Prize for Civility in Public Life

September 27, 2019 (Washington, DC) – Allegheny College President Emeritus James H. Mullen, Jr., will today present the 2019 Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life to Congressmen Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) for their collaborative work toward criminal justice reform, which resulted in passage of the bipartisan First Step Act.

The ceremony will take place today, Friday, September 27, at 8:15 a.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where both congressmen will offer remarks during the presentation. Your coverage is welcome. If you’re interested in attending, please contact Brianna Quinn at bquinn@a-g.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.

Last year, the Prize for Civility in Public Life was awarded to Texas Congressmen Will Hurd and Beto O’Rourke for their captivating “Bipartisan Road Trip,” which showed the nation that political adversaries can disagree on issues spiritedly, but with civility.

Other 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 also is one of the few colleges in the country that requires students to choose both a major and a minor, helping to cultivate intellectual growth and the creative, big-picture thinking desired by employers and graduate schools. In its 2020 rankings, U.S. News & World Report recognized Allegheny in the top 20 among all national liberal arts colleges for best undergraduate teaching.

About the Honorees