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Government Professor Larry Sabato Is Honored With Thomas Jefferson Award

October 26, 2001-- Larry J. Sabato, the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia and one of its best-known teachers and scholars, received U.Va.’s highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award, at Fall Convocation ceremonies Friday.

The award, given annually since 1955, honors a member of the University community who exemplifies in character, work and influences the ideals of Thomas Jefferson, U.Va.’s founder.

"Without his tremendous energy and passionate public-mindedness, the quality of research and teaching at the University, and of political understanding across the state and nation, would be poorer," the award citation says of Sabato, a frequently quoted political commentator and highly popular teacher.

"His contributions to students, to his profession as a prolific and distinguished scholar … and to the public as an incisive and eminently sane political analyst – all of these activities have made him indispensable."

A University alumnus who was Student Council president, Sabato was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in government in 1974 and became a Rhodes Scholar. He received his doctorate in politics from Oxford University and taught there before returning to U.Va. in 1978 to join the government faculty. In addition to directing the government department’s undergraduate program and honors program and establishing an important Center for Governmental Studies, he has also reached out to Virginia’s middle and high school students through the center’s Youth Leadership Initiative.

He is the author of many widely discussed books on national politics, including "Dirty Little Secrets: The Resurgence of Corruption in American Politics," "Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics," "PAC Power: Inside the World of Political Action Committees," and "The Party’s Just Begun: Shaping Political Parties for America's Future." He has written many other books and articles on Virginia politics and publishes a definitive annual series, "Virginia Votes," analyzing all statewide elections in detail. He has also served on many national and state commissions, including the National Commission for the Renewal of American Democracy and the U.S. Senate Campaign Finance Reform Panel. In 1993 received the Outstanding Professor Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

He is so frequently quoted about politics in national news media that "he seems to be everywhere. We may even take him for granted, like the air we breathe," President John T. Casteen III said in presenting the award. But in all that Sabato does, Casteen added, "he has illuminated issues that are at the heart of our ever-changing democratic process.

"His teaching and scholarship, public work and private humanity exemplify the ideals for which the University was founded."

Contact: Bob Brickhouse, (434) 924-6856

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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