Roberts accepts Ivy Young Willis Award

By Gianna Shikitino
February 12, 2009

Shannon Keough

The President of Cabrini College, Dr. Marie Angelella George, introduced this year’s recipient for the Ivy Young Willis Award.

The ceremony was held in Grace Hall on Feb. 5. This year’s honoree, Cokie Roberts, has worked with ABC News, National Public Radio, USA Weekend Magazine and wrote three books. Roberts has made astonishing achievements in Public Relations, as well as politics.

“This award was established at Cabrini College, through the vision and commitment of Mr. William G. Willis,” George said. “There were 15 previous recipients of the award, all of them being distinguished, worthy roll models.”

With over 40 years in broadcasting, Roberts has won numerous awards, including three Emmy’s. She was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as “one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting.” Roberts has also been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.

“Cokie Roberts is an accomplished author of American history, who has helped shine a light on the often ignored contributions of the women who helped shape this great country,” George said.

Roberts is involved in non-profit institutions as well as serving on the President’s Commission on Service and Civic Participation.

“The Ivy Young Willis Award gives us the opportunity annually to celebrate a woman whose contributions to public affairs helps shape our society, and leave a lasting impression on our world,” George said.

“I am thrilled to receive an award at Cabrini College, where I have been so impressed witheverything that I have learned about the fabulous commitment to public service and community service that this college exemplifies,” Roberts said.

Roberts touched briefly on the new program available at Cabrini entitled Justice Matters, which engages students to become involved in social justice. Roberts believes it’s an exciting program that will lead students to changing the world.

During the ceremony, Roberts spoke of her parents’ involvement in Congress and politics. Roberts also told stories of the women throughout history who have shaped our country by outstanding accomplishments to emphasize the importance of a woman’s role in our society.

In the past, Roberts explained how many women were left behind, in a time when women did not have the right to vote and were considered property of their husbands.

Roberts spoke about Eliza Hamilton and Isabella Graham’s initiative to use their sense of business and politics to create their own organization, the Widow’s Society. Acts like these during times when women did not receive much acknowledgment in business and politics have placed women on a higher level.

“The truth is, women do make an enormous difference,” Roberts said. “They have made a difference in this country since the beginning.”

“All of the movements that have worked toward perfecting this union started with the women who began the continuum that St. Francis of Cabrini was part of, and those of you will carry on into the country as you fulfill your obligations as young Americans to be change agents for the world,” Roberts said.

Roberts’ mother once said, “know thy power.” Nancy Pelosi, friend of Roberts, used the phrase of inspiration to write a book titled, “Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters.” This book explains a woman’s role in politics, while explaining Pelosi’s perspectives on growing up as the daughter of a congressman.

While quoting Pelosi, “I didn’t come across congress to change the attitude of men, I came to change the policy of our country.” Roberts added on by saying, “And that’s what all of you need to be part of, and that’s what this wonderful institution is leading you to. That is also what this award celebrates and I am so pleased to have it.”

After thanking the applauding audience, Roberts wished everyone, “good luck as you go out there and change the country.”

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Gianna Shikitino

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