The William Donald Schaefer Award honors the legacy of former Governor, Comptroller, and Mayor William Donald Schaefer, and celebrates the contributions of the honoree to effective government and lifelong commitment and service to the well-being of the citizens of Maryland. The award is designed to honor lifetime achievement.
The previous honorees include Congressman Elijah Cummings (2015); Dr. Nancy Grasmick (2016), former Maryland State Superintendent of Schools; and The Honorable Carolyn Colvin (2017), former Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration.
2018 William Donald Schaefer Award Recipient The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes U.S. Senate, Maryland (1977 – 2007)
Senator Paul S. Sarbanes was the longest-serving Senator in Maryland history when he retired after five full terms in 2007. He was, at various times, Chairman of the Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs and of the Joint Economic Committee and a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee. When President George W. Bush signed the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reforming the regulation of financial reporting for United States public companies, he referred to it as “the most far-reaching reform of American business practices since the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.” In recognition of his work on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Senator Sarbanes received the prestigious Paul H. Douglas Ethics in Government Award from the University of Illinois in 2003.
Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Paul Sarbanes served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Paul Sarbanes also served in the Maryland House of Delegates representing Baltimore City.
Born and raised in Salisbury, Maryland, Paul Sarbanes is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.
2017 William Donald Schaefer Award Recipient The Honorable Carolyn Colvin
Carolyn W. Colvin’s extensive career in public service spanned the local, state, and federal levels. Under President Obama, she served as Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration of the United States from 2013-2017. Prior to her appointment as Acting Commissioner, Ms. Colvin served as Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Administration from 2011—2013. Previously, she served as the director of Human Services for the District of Columbia, and director of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. Under Governor Schaefer, she served as secretary of Maryland’s Department of Human Resources. Under Mayor Schaefer, Ms. Colvin served as Deputy Commissioner for Administration, Baltimore City Health Department and Director of Administration and Management, Baltimore City Health Department.
Commissioner Colvin has described her leadership style as putting people first. In an interview with The Washington Post, she noted, “Former Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer gave me the best advice, and that was to put people first and to demonstrate to people that you care about them. He always talked about the importance of being a compassionate leader and the need to serve your people well and to serve the public. That helped generate my leadership style.”
2016 William Donald Schaefer Award Recipient Dr. Nancy Grasmick
Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, PhD, served as Maryland’s first female state superintendent of schools. She was the longest serving appointed superintendent in U.S. history, holding the position for 20 years, from 1991 to 2011. During her tenure, she instituted an explicit pre-K-12 curriculum, developed statewide assessments, and was known for holding school systems accountable. Under her leadership, the state of Maryland received one of the federal government’s coveted Race to the Top education grants in 2010, worth up to $250 million to continue building upon a solid record of school reform. Maryland schools were ranked number one in the 2009, 2010, and 2011 Quality Counts report as the country’s most consistently high performing state, and were consistently ranked number one by Education Week.
Additionally, Maryland was also the top ranked state for advanced placement performance for three years in a row under Dr. Grasmick’s leadership. She began her career as a classroom teacher at the William S. Baer School for the Deaf in Baltimore City. She went on to serve as a teacher, principal, supervisor, assistant superintendent, and associate superintendent in Baltimore County Public Schools. Dr. Grasmick received her doctorate from The Johns Hopkins University, her master’s degree from Gallaudet University, and her bachelor’s degree from Towson University.
2015 William Donald Schaefer Award Recipient The Honorable Elijah Cummings U.S. Congressman Maryland, 7th District (1996-2019)
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings has represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1996. He previously served for 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem. Congressman Cummings currently serves as the Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is also a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, serving on both the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. He is committed to ensuring that our next generation has access to quality healthcare and education, clean air and water, and a strong economy defined by fiscal responsibility.