Janet Napolitano, secretary of homeland security in President Obama’s first term, is the 2018 recipient of the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award.
The award is to be presented at 1 p.m. May 29 on the front steps of the Truman Library, followed by a reception inside. It’s free and open to the public. A second award, for community service, also is to be announced in the coming days.
The city presents the Public Service Award annually at the library. It’s given someone judged to have displayed many of Truman’s characteristics such as integrity, hard work and a spirit of public service. Past winners include Presidents Ford, Carter and Clinton, Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and dozens of U.S. senators and representatives. Last year it went to former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas.
Napolitano was a U.S. attorney in Arizona, then that state’s attorney and then its governor for two terms. She was secretary of homeland security from 2009 to 2013. Today she is the president of the University of California, overseeing that system’s 10 campuses.
The Public Service Award is among the most prominent of the various awards that bear the name of the 33rd president. The three major awards roughly line up with his May 8 birthday.
On April 19, the Truman Library Institute will honor author David McCullough with its Legacy of Leadership Award during the “Wild About Harry” gala. McCullough dives deeply into history, and two of his presidential biographies – “Truman” and “John Adams” – have won the Pulitzer Prize.
On May 4, the Truman Good Neighbor Award goes to Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II of Kansas City.