Chestertown, MD — A politician who has served the people of Maryland for many years and a pioneering expert in the field of public-opinion research will be honored at Washington College's annual George Washington's Birthday Convocation at the College's Benjamin A. Johnson Lifetime Fitness Center on Friday, February 20, at 3:30 p.m.
Receiving honorary degrees at the annual ceremony will be Congressman Steny Hoyer and Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center. Also being honored are the 2009 Washington College Service Award recipients.
Congressman Hoyer represents Maryland's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties and portions of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties. Now serving as the majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Hoyer is charged with managing the House floor as well as scheduling legislation to be considered on the floor.
He also plays a key role in helping House Democrats determine their legislative agenda and political strategy, and in building support for the Party's positions and delivering the Democratic message both in Washington and nationally. Prior to being elected Majority Leader, Hoyer served two terms as the Democratic Whip.
Members on both sides of the aisle recognize Hoyer as an effective leader and committed consensus builder who knows how to get things done. He is widely regarded as a champion for federal employees and is a well-known leader on education issues. As the former Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, he also is a respected voice on human and civil rights. He is perhaps best known for serving as the lead House sponsor of historic Federal election reform (the "Help America Vote Act") and for guiding the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to passage.
Andrew Kohut—founding president of the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C.—is an expert in public opinion. The former president of the Gallup Organization and founder of Princeton Survey Research Associates now acts as Director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, and for the Pew Global Attitudes Project. Kohut often comments on public opinion for television news programs including PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
Kohut has written widely about public opinion for leading newspapers and magazines, as well as for scholarly journals. He is a frequent op-ed essayist for The New York Times and in the past has been a regular columnist for Columbia Journalism Review and AOL News. He has authored four books, including, most recently, America Against the World (Times Books) and The Diminishing Divide: Religion's Changing Role in American Politics (Brookings Institution Press).
Kohut received the first Innovators Award from the American Association of Public Opinion Research, and was given the New York AAPOR Chapter award for Outstanding Contribution to Opinion Research. Most recently, he was awarded the 2005 American Association of Public Opinion Research's highest honor, the Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement.
The George Washington's Birthday Convocation also will serve as the occasion to honor members of the College family with the 2009 Washington College Service Awards. The President's Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Vickie B. Anderson, Billie S. Dodge and Shirley Dorsey. The President's Medal this year goes to Richard W. Miller and Leslie P. Raimond '63. And the 2009 Alumni Service Award will be received by Barbara T. Cromwell '55.
A reception will follow the ceremony in the Lifetime Fitness Center.