Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., will receive the third University of Michigan Distinguished Legislator Award at ceremonies in Washington, D.C., March 14.
Modeled after the national service academy scholarship programs, the award enables the chosen U.S. senator or House member to select a constituent in their state or congressional district to receive a four-year undergraduate scholarship to study at the U-M.
Matthew Ruckman of Lafayette, Ind., was selected by Lugar to receive this years $40,000 scholarship.
The award, given every other year to a legislator, and the scholarship, given to an incoming LS&A first-year student, are made possible by a gift from Bertram J. Askwith, a U-M graduate and CEO of Campus Coach Lines, a charter bus company in New York City. Askwiths funding of the award and scholarship continues his long-term interests in journalism, politics and education.
Askwith says he established the award, first presented in 1996, to call attention to the Michigan reputation, especially that of its highly ranked political science program. He adds that, in an era of increasing ill-will toward legislators, it is important to reward those who have made exemplary contributions to the nation, while at the same time providing financial support for outstanding young students.
As part of the award program, Lugar will visit campus for discussions with students and faculty.
The award recipient, a legislator who has served the nation superbly, is selected by a panel that includes two journalists involved with coverage of congressional affairs, a past recipient of the prize and Charles Eisendrath, director of the Michigan Journalism Fellows Program, which administers the award and scholarship.
Other judges this year are Nancy Kassebaum Baker, recipient of the first Distinguished Legislator Award; Sara Fritz, the Washington bureau chief of the St. Petersburg Times; and Martin Tolchin, who founded The Hill after a 40-year career at the New York Times.
Carole Simpson, senior Washington correspondent and anchor of ABC Newss World News Tonight Sunday, will present the award at ceremonies at the National Press Club.
Lugar is the longest serving senator in Indiana, elected to a fourth term in 1994. During his third term, he was the fourth person to be named Outstanding Legislator by the American Political Science Association. In 1997, he was named a top 100 decision-maker in government by National Journal for his leadership in foreign policy, pro-market agriculture policy and consensus-building.
Lugars wide-ranging interests are reflected in his committee appointments, including chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, membership on the Foreign Relations Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence, and his co-chairmanship of the Senate Arms Control Observer Group.
During his tenure in the Senate he also has served as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and as a member of the Banking and Congressional Reform Committees.
Ruckman, who attends William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette, is a scholar, athlete, musician and community volunteer. He is interested in political science and history and looks forward to attending law school or teaching history at the college level.