The Thomas Penfield Jackson Award for Civic Responsibility and Democratic Citizenship Award


By Elena Napolitano

Attention Juniors and Seniors interested in public service, international relations or a law career, there’s a new award for you! Offered by the Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary’s, the Thomas Penfield Jackson Award for Civic Responsibility and Democratic Citizenship offers a $1500 stipend to students who excel in leadership and democracy in the context of career opportunities that support the growth of democracy and civil society.

Named after the late Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, the award encourages students to participate in the improvement of the greater community. A Federal Judge for the District of Columbia, Jackson was appointed to the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees in 2001. He quickly became a popular figure in the world of St. Mary’s administration, and in 2002 became a member of St. Mary’s Center of Advisory Board. When he was not busy in the world of administration, Jackson often found himself in the classroom offering lectures on history and law. Following his passion for encouraging student success, Jackson often immersed himself in the mission and development of the St. Mary’s Center for Democracy. Much like Jackson himself, the Center promotes the relationship between students and the exploration of democracy in the community, and in 2009 Jackson was named the Center for Democracy’s Chaney Visiting Scholar. As political science professor Michael Cain remarked, “Judge Jackson believed in the importance of the liberal arts, and believed in the strength of SMCM. He loved the college and worked tirelessly to advance it.”

The award is the brainchild of Jackson’s wife Patricia K. Jackson. When approached by former law clerks and friends of Jackson’s who wished to contribute to Jackson’s memory, Patricia encouraged them to financially support the school. Thus the endowment fund for the Jackson award was born.

If you wish to apply, a completed application is due by March 24th. For more questions contact Michael Cain at