John Lewis

John Lewis Shutterstock

Government Hall of Fame 2020 Inductees: John Lewis, George H.W. Bush, Oveta Culp Hobby, Ralph Bunche, Kathryn Sullivan

Recognizing the second 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 unveiled. They were: Frederick Douglass, Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright, and David O. “Doc” Cooke.

On Wednesday, the second group of honorees were recognized at the virtual gala. They were:

John Lewis


From the moment he joined the Freedom Rides in 1961, suffering savage beatings at the hands of white segregationists, Lewis became a figure of historic importance in the civil rights movement. As head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, He helped organize the March on Washington in 1963. In 1977, after an unsuccessful run for Congress, Lewis was appointed by President Carter to lead domestic volunteer programs at ACTION, the federal agency responsible for Volunteers in Service to America and other efforts. In 1986, he won election to the House of Representatives, and was reelected 16 times. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

George H.W. Bush


President Bush’s storied career in public service began when he served as a naval aviator in World War II. He was elected to Congress in 1966 and appointed ambassador to the United Nations in 1971. President Ford appointed Bush to head the Central Intelligence Agency in 1976. After serving as vice president under Ronald Reagan, Bush was elected president in 1988. His term in office included serving as commander in chief during the Gulf War and pushing passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Oveta Culp Hobby

National Archives

During World War II, Hobby joined the War Department’s Bureau of Public Relations, and then became director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (later the Women’s Army Corps). She was commissioned a colonel in 1943, and became the first woman in the Army to receive the Distinguished Service Medal. After the war, President Eisenhower appointed Hobby to head the Federal Security Agency, and then as the first secretary of the newly created Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Ralph Bunche

United Nations

Bunche was a diplomat and civil rights leader who brokered the 1948 armistice between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. He was the first nonwhite person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. During World War II he served in the Office of Strategic Services, War Department and State Department, where he focused on colonies in Africa and the Caribbean. Bunche also helped plan the creation of the United Nations.

Kathryn D. Sullivan


A crew member on three different space shuttle missions, Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space in 1984. She also served in the naval reserve as an oceanography officer. After her NASA career, Sullivan went on to serve as undersecretary of Commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2014 to 2017. Then she was named the Charles A. Lindbergh chair of aerospace history at the National Air and Space Museum.

The virtual gala will wrap up Thursday at 11:00 ET. Click here to watch the unveiling of the third and final set of members of the new Government Hall of Fame class.