ASPIN AWARDS PRESENTED
Surprise announcement caps ceremony
In 1988 Rev. Tim O’Brien, adjunct professor of American government, took 24 students to the nation’s capital to experience the U.S. Congress in person. They studied; they worked as interns on Capitol Hill. The idea caught fire and within five years Marquette University had in place a congressional internship program, the prelude to the Les Aspin Center for Government.
Today the Aspin Center sets the pace among universities by weaving academics with experiential opportunities in leadership and public policy. A perfect example is the annual presentation of the Aspin Awards, which recognize individuals who lead lives committed to public service.
The center presented the 2007 Aspin Democracy Award and Founders Award to three people who believed early on that Marquette’s Washington, D.C., program was worth championing. The Democracy Award went to Wisconsin Congressman David Obey, a member of the center’s national board since 1996. He is the third longest-serving member of Congress in Wisconsin history and the third longest in the House as a whole. He is serving a second term as chair of appropriations. Jacqueline Lewis, Arts ’60, and her husband, Robert, received the Founders Award for their partnership in establishing the center. The Lewises identified the property that is the Aspin Center’s academic home, and they purchased a nearby building for student housing. “They continue to host every class of Marquette interns and all of our African visitors for dinner at their home each semester. They were founders, and they are sustainers,” says Father O’Brien. The climax of the awards event came when the Lewises gave to Marquette the student residence; it and the center are four blocks from Capitol Hill. — JMM