Robertson School of Government Distinguished Statesman Award Series
Give to everyone what you owe them: … if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:7
Honoring Extraordinary Servant Leaders Who Have Led the Way
The Robertson School of Government believes it is fitting and proper to honor those whose public service built up our nation and lifted our people. That’s why we are proud to announce our Distinguished Statesman Award Series to highlight and honor those who have sacrificially enhanced our country through their extraordinary contribution to public service.
This uplifting award series celebrates truly extraordinary heroes: current or recent statesmen who have served in government in the pattern of America’s earliest brilliant statesmen—men and women of character and honor.
Winsome Earle-Sears is known for being an independent-minded conservative who broke barriers as the first female and woman of color elected as Virginia’s lieutenant governor in the state’s 400-year legislative history. However, Sears’ beginnings may not have been an early indicator of her groundbreaking future.
Her childhood began in Kingston, Jamaica, where she lived before immigrating to the United States at the age of six. In 1963, Sears’ father brought his family to the U.S. with $1.75 in his pocket. Although her life in the Bronx was modest, she thrived in her new home.
Sears significant competence as a formidable leader became apparent as she graduated high school early, joined the Marines, married, earned a bachelor’s and a Regent University master’s degree, raised three daughters, and started her own business.
General John Ashcroft was raised in Springfield, Missouri. He graduated from Yale University (cum laude) with an A.B. and earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. Before entering public service, he taught at Southwest Missouri State University.
In 1973, General Ashcroft served as Missouri Auditor, followed by two terms as Missouri Attorney General. From 1985 through 1993, General Ashcroft served as Governor of Missouri where he balanced eight consecutive budgets. In 1991, the non-partisan National Governor’s Association voted him Chairman.
In 1994, General Ashcroft was elected to the U.S. Senate where he worked to reduce crime and safeguard the rights of crime victims.
On December 22, 2000, President George W. Bush announced his decision to nominate General Ashcroft to serve as U.S. Attorney General. In this position, General Ashcroft reorganized the Justice Department to focus on its number one priority: to prevent another terrorist attack. Leveraging every legal tool available to law enforcement, including the critical tools provided in the USA PATRIOT Act, the Justice Department initiated a tough antiterrorism campaign that has assisted in disrupting over 150 terrorist plots worldwide, dismantling terrorist cells in cities across America, and convicting 191 individuals in terrorism-related investigations to date.
In 2005, General Ashcroft was named a Distinguished Professor in the schools of Law and Government at Regent University. Today, General Ashcroft serves as the Chairman of The Ashcroft Group, LLC which provides confidential strategic consulting and crisis counseling to major international corporations.
Michael R. Pompeo is a distinguished fellow at Hudson Institute where his work focuses on promoting U.S. national security, technological leadership, and global engagement. From April 2018 to January 2021, Pompeo served as the 70th Secretary of State. He also held the position as director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 to April 2018.
Prior to joining the Trump Administration, Pompeo served in his fourth term as congressman from Kansas’ 4th District, on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the Energy, Commerce Committee and House Select Benghazi Committee.
As a businessman, Pompeo founded Thayer Aerospace, where he was CEO for more than a decade. He later became President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturing, distribution, and service company.
Pompeo graduated first in his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the US Army’s Fourth Infantry Division.
After leaving active duty, Mr. Pompeo graduated from Harvard Law School, having been an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
“The purpose of the distinguished statesman award is to honor a current or recent statesman who has served in government in the pattern of America’s earliest brilliant statesmen … men and women of character and honor. That is why we specifically chose a sculpture of general George Washington kneeling in prayer, seeking guidance from his heavenly father as he led the revolutionary army to defeat the greatest military power of the age … Great Britain.
Washington was brilliant, yet modest, a scholar though he continually lamented his lack of formal education. More than anything, Washington exhibited unwavering character in both his public and private life when no one was looking.”— Michele Bachmann, Dean of the Robertson School of Government
About the Distinguished Statesman Award Sculpture
We specifically chose a sculpture of General George Washington kneeling in prayer, seeking guidance from his Heavenly Father as he led the revolutionary army to defeat the greatest military power of the age, Great Britain. Washington was brilliant, yet modest, a scholar though he continually lamented his lack of formal education. More than anything, Washington exhibited unwavering character in his public and private life when no one was looking. A dedicated man of faith, humble, brave, courageous, tenacious, a fighter who was cool under pressure.