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Former U.S. President Honored with Ansary Prize

Mon, 03/31/2014

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2014
Digital image available

Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203
mwood@mountvernon.org

 

Former U.S. President Honored with Ansary Prize

  George H.W. Bush Receives Inaugural Award for Courage and Character


MOUNT VERNON, VA – George Washington’s Mount Vernon has awarded former President George H.W. Bush a new honor, the Cyrus A. Ansary Prize for Courage and Character. The award was presented to President Bush at a ceremony in Houston on March 28. The Ansary Prize recognizes a modern-day “Washington”—a leader whose record of service calls to mind the qualities of the first president: patriotism, integrity, and thoughtful leadership.  Bush is the first recipient of the Prize.  The Ansary Prize’s panel of judges, chaired by the Honorable Condoleezza Rice and including the Honorable Dr. David Abshire, the Honorable Lee H. Hamilton, Dr. Steven Knapp, the Honorable John Warner, and Lady Susan Westmacott, unanimously recommended Bush for the honor. 

“No American could ever hope to match the grace, guile and grit of President Washington and the way he led both to our independence and to the birth of our young Republic,” said President H. W. Bush.  “To have one's name associated with him and this award is certainly one of the highest honors I have received. Rather than question the committee's very kind and overly generous decision, I will simply thank them for it.”

In recognition, Bush receives a $50,000 cash award, which he has designated to The George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He also has designated an additional $25,000 to fund a special Mount Vernon project – an animation about the Siege of Yorktown that will be available to school children, teachers, and lifelong learners everywhere. In addition to these elements of the prize, the president received a bust of Washington mounted on a pedestal made of the mahogany wood used to construct the interior of the rare book vault at the new Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon. 

“It is an honor for us to bestow the Ansary Prize on George H.W. Bush,” said Barbara Lucas, Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. “Throughout his career, George Bush was clearly inspired by Washington’s example, serving our country with dignity and integrity. He clearly demonstrates how Washington’s leadership lessons remain relevant in today’s world.”

Established in 2012 and awarded for the first time this spring, Mount Vernon supporters, Cyrus A. and Janet H. Ansary, are founders of the Prize.

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Since 1860, more than 85 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America. A privately-owned national treasure, Mount Vernon is maintained and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Since purchasing the estate from the Washington family and assuming stewardship in 1858, the Association has embraced a heroic mission to preserve, protect, and maintain the estate for the American people, relying exclusively on private donations, admission fees, and restaurant and retail proceeds. Through robust education and outreach programs, the Association expands awareness about the exceptional life and character of George Washington, sustaining his legacy through research, interpretation, and public education. In experiences on the estate and through its digital outreach platforms, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” 

With its latest initiative, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, Mount Vernon is affirming its status as the preeminent center of learning about George Washington, his life, character of leadership, and legacy. In addition to safeguarding original books and manuscripts, the Library serves as a center for leadership, where scholars, influencers, and other luminaries come together to talk about the past as well as the future, inspired by Washington’s extraordinary life, achievements, and character.