Government Hall of Fame 2020 Inductees: Frederick Douglass, Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright, Doc Cooke

Recognizing the first of three groups of 2020 honorees recognized for greatness in public service.

This week, Government Executive Media Group is hosting a virtual gala to honor the 2020 inductees into the Government Hall of Fame. We created the Hall of Fame last year to honor the best of the best: those who have demonstrated sustained achievement and unparalleled dedication to public service.

The inaugural inductees, who come from all periods of American history, included Theodore Roosevelt, the Apollo 11 astronauts and Dr. Anthony Fauci. They were feted at a gala event in 2019 at Washington National Cathedral.

On Tuesday, the first set of 2020 honorees were recognized at the virtual gala. Tributes to the new Hall of Famers included messages from former Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell and former Secretary of Commerce and Transportation Norman Mineta. 

Those honored Tuesday are:

Frederick Douglass


Born into slavery in 1818, Douglass fled north and became one of the most famous abolitionists and a renowned Black leader. That included not only playing an active role in national politics, but also holding important and trailblazing positions in the federal government. In 1877, he was appointed U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia, becoming the first Black American to hold a Senate-confirmed position. In 1889, Douglass was appointed minister to Haiti, a post he held until 1891. 

Condoleezza Rice

State Department

After beginning her career in academia at Stanford University, Rice served on the National Security Council as senior director of Soviet and East European Affairs under President George H.W. Bush.  In 1997, she was a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training in the Military. From 2005 to 2009, during the George W. Bush administration, she served as Secretary of State, the first Black woman to hold the post. 

Madeleine Albright


After serving on the staff of Sen. Edmund Muskie, D-Maine, Albright took a position on the National Security Council, where she served until 1981. In 1993, President Clinton appointed her ambassador to the United Nations. In 1997, Albright became the first female Secretary of State, a position she held until the end of the Clinton administration. In 2012 she was awarded the Presidential Medal Freedom. 

David O. “Doc” Cooke

Defense Department

Known as the "Mayor of the Pentagon," Cooke served 12 Defense secretaries over 44 years as a civilian administrator, from 1958 until his death in a car accident in 2002. He was the department's highest-ranking career civil servant as director of administration and management and head of Washington Headquarters Services.

The virtual gala will continue Wednesday and Thursday at 11:00 ET. Click here to watch the unveiling of the other members of the new Government Hall of Fame class.

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