Government Hall of Fame 2020 Inductees: John Glenn, Howard Jenkins Jr., Frank Kameny, Tammy Duckworth
Recognizing the final of three groups of 2020 honorees for greatness in public service.
This week, Government Executive Media Group hosted 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 unveiled. They were: Frederick Douglass, Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright, and David O. “Doc” Cooke. On Wednesday, a second group entered the hall: John Lewis, George H.W. Bush, Oveta Culp Hobby, Ralph Bunche and Kathryn Sullivan.
On Thursday, the third and final group of 2020 inductees were announced: They were:
A distinguished fighter pilot in World War II and the Korean War, Glenn joined NASA and in 1962 became the first American to orbit the earth. He was elected to the Senate in 1974 and chaired the Governmental Affairs Committee from 1987 to 1995. Glenn was responsible for several pieces of landmark legislation regarding the operations and management of federal agencies, including laws creating inspectors general and chief financial officers.
Howard Jenkins Jr.
Jenkins was the first Black American to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board, where he served for 20 years under six presidents. Before NLRB, he worked in the Office of the Solicitor at the Department of Labor, where he helped draft the landmark 1959 Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Following the passage of the law, he went on to serve as assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Labor-Management Reports, where he was the highest-ranking Black lawyer in the federal government.
A towering figure in the gay rights movement, Kameny served in the U.S. Army during World War II and after earning his doctorate in astronomy from Harvard, took a job with the Army Map Service in Washington. After refusing to answer questions about his sexual orientation, Kameny was fired in 1958 and barred from working for the government in the future. He appealed his firing all the way to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear his case. Kameny went on to become a gay rights advocate and is credited with being instrumental in the federal government’s eventual reversal of its ban on employing homosexuals.
After joining the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps in college, Duckworth became a commissioned officer in the Army Reserve in 1992. She later transferred to the Army National Guard and was deployed to the Iraq War in 2004, losing part of both her legs in an attack on the helicopter she was flying. She went on to serve as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, assistant secretary of the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department, and an elected member of the House of Representatives and senator from Illinois.
The virtual Government Hall of Fame, which also showcases the winners of the annual Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership Awards, will remain open to the public.