Civility Prize recipient Haywood to visit Allegheny

Hershey, Pennsylvania — Hilary Link, president of Allegheny College, presented the annual Prize for Civility in Public Life in Pennsylvania on Sept. 23 to the four chairs of the General Assembly’s Criminal Justice Reform Caucus: Republican Representative Sheryl Delozier, Republican Senator Camera Bartolotta, Democratic Representative Jordan Harris and Democratic Senator Art Haywood.

Presenting civility awards, which have recognized public figures like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who have the ability to argue “passionately but respectfully” on bipartisan issues, is an almost decade-long tradition. But 2019 marks the first year one of the prize recipients will actually visit Allegheny grounds.

Haywood, Pennsylvania senator serving the 4th senatorial district, will interact with Allegheny students, faculty and members of the community today at 12:15 p.m. in the Tillotson Room at Tippie Alumni Center at Cochran Hall. His visit was arranged by the Office of the President in collaboration with the Center for Political Participation, after Link awarded him the Civility Prize in September.

Link expressed her excitement to have Haywood as the first national or Pennsylvania recipient of the Civility Prize to visit campus.

“One of my big goals with the Civility Prize is to embed it as much as possible in what’s happening here on campus,” Link said.

She presented the award for her first time in late September, and commented that “It’s incredibly moving to see in action what the (Civility Prize) actually stands for, with people who are on completely opposite ends of the political spectrum.”

After awarding the Civility Prize to Haywood at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Dinner, Link and other members of the Allegheny community had the opportunity to talk more with the senator about his work in the Commonwealth. Haywood is currently traveling around the state and was happy to schedule a lunchtime visit to Allegheny, according to Link.

“It worked out perfectly that relatively soon after the awarding of the prize, we were able to bring him for a lunchtime event to really expose as many students and faculty, and local dignitaries who will also be attending,” Link said.

Public figures in the Meadville community such as Mayor LeRoy Stearns and City Manager Andy Walker, ’00, have been invited to attend.

Haywood is a 1985 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. Throughout his legal career, he has concentrated on “preserving and creating affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization,” according to his website. In addition to serving as one of the Criminal Justice Reform Caucus chairs, he advocates for gun violence prevention and raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, and is the Democratic Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee.

Link praised Haywood’s success of working across party lines to pass state legislation on prison reform. She said one point of the Civility Prize is to show young adults that in an era of political polarization, there are citizens who are willing to put divisions aside for the betterment of society.     

Brian Harward, Robert G. Seddig Chair in Political Science and Director of the CPP, will be hosting the event. He reiterated Link’s sentiments and views the event as an opportunity for community members to recognize the importance of civic advocacy.

“The College, for a long time, has been an advocate for civility in public life,” Harward said. “Senator Haywood is an exemplar of the values that (the Civility Prize) stands for.”

Moving forward, Link said she is excited to think of other ways to continue bringing the prize “back to campus,” where it originated after thorough research from the CPP.

“It started here on campus and then it’s kind of grown a little bit away from campus,” Link said. “I’m excited to think about other ways that we can bring the prize back to campus as much as possible. … This is something that we’re hoping to do more of.”