The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace presented the first Hoover Institution Award for Uncommon Commitment to Richard M. Scaife in recognition of his contributions to the Institution and its guiding principles.
The award, which is the first honorary award established by the Hoover Institution, was announced on February 28, during a meeting of the Institution's Board of Overseers in Washington, D.C.
In opening the presentation ceremony, Hoover Board of Overseers Chairman Peyton Lake told the audience that the award draws its name from an Armistice Day message that Herbert Hoover delivered by radio on November 11, 1948. In that broadcast, Hoover remarked "Let us remember that the great human advances have not been brought about by mediocre men and women. They were brought about by distinctly uncommon people with vital sparks of leadership … For the future of America rests not in mediocrity, but in the constant renewal of leadership in every phase of our national life."
Lake added that the award recognizes those who, by their contributions to American values and institutions, have promoted ideas that define a free society.
"Herbert Hoover reminded us that it is not the common man, but rather the uncommon man upon whom the preservation of our civilization depends. It is fitting, therefore, that the award honoring contributions to the Hoover Institution and the principles upon which it was founded be named the Award for Uncommon Commitment," Lake said.
In accepting the award, Scaife responded, "I am honored that the Hoover Institution has seen fit to name me the first recipient of its Award for Uncommon Commitment. It is great to be associated with such wonderful people."
Scaife is a member of the Institution's Board of Overseers and has been associated with Hoover for almost 40 years. He is a philanthropist, patron of the arts, public servant, publisher, and trustee and chairman of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Allegheny Foundation, and the Carthage Foundation.
"Throughout the decades, his wise counsel has played a major role in shaping the directions of the Institution's growth and the specific content of its programs," said Hoover Institution director John Raisian of Scaife. "The Hoover Library and National Fellows Program were early beneficiaries of his interest. He sustained the highly productive work of the programs in domestic and international studies and national security affairs. He made a major contribution to the design and construction of the Lou Henry Hoover building. His early recognition of the importance of the project on microfilming the Soviet archives made it possible for Hoover to seize and capitalize on that historic opportunity.
"More recently, he has promoted Hoover's research programs in Democracy and Free Markets, International Rivalries and Global Competition, and American Institutions and Economic Performance. It is clear that Dick Scaife has played a major role in making the Hoover Institution a preeminent think tank," Raisian said.
In addition to the award, the Institution is launching The Richard M. Scaife Initiative on the End of Communism, a research and publication project which will build on the existing programs of the Hoover Institution to record the aftermath and eventual death of communism.
"By establishing a true record of its failures through archival acquisitions, research, publication, and aggressive outreach, we will help to ensure that mankind will not be tempted again by its false utopian promises," Director Raisian said. "Communism is lying in its coffin. With this initiative, we intend to now hammer in the last nail. It is entirely fitting, in view of all that he has done to help defeat communism, that the name of Richard Scaife be associated with that effort."
A bronze plaque in Scaife's honor will be placed on permanent display in the Stauffer Auditorium at the Hoover Institution. It states that Scaife was recognized with the award "for outstanding contributions to the Hoover Institution and to the principles upon which the Hoover Institution was founded: the search for peace, the promotion of scholarship, and the defense of freedom; for sustained support of the ideals of individual responsibility, limited government, and economic freedom that undergird the American way of life, and for courageous leadership in efforts to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
The award will be bestowed infrequently to recipients selected by Hoover's director and a subcommittee of the executive committee of the Board of Overseers, Peyton Lake said.