Washington, D.C., February 15, 2013 - Harris Wofford, who was instrumental in the formation of the Peace Corps, was honored today with the Presidential Citizens Medal. Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet released to following statement in congratulations.
“I cannot think of a more deserving American for this prestigious honor. Senator Wofford’s lifetime of good and gracious service to our country has been exemplary, and he has inspired and guided generations of Americans to serve our communities, our country and our world. Congratulations from everyone in the Peace Corps family to Senator Wofford on this special honor that he so richly deserves.”
Senator Wofford worked closely with Sargent Shriver to create the Peace Corps after it was established by executive order on March 1, 1961. Wofford served as the Peace Corps’ special representative to Africa and as Country Director in Ethiopia from 1962 to 1964. Upon returning to Washington, he was appointed associate director of the Peace Corps and served in that role until 1967.
As a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from 1991 to 1995, Senator Wofford was instrumental in the creation and passing of the legislation establishing the Corporation for National Service, including the new AmeriCorps. From 1995 to 2001 he was the chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The Presidential Citizens Medal is the nation’s second-highest civilian honor. For more 40 years, it has recognized U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. The 2012 Citizens Medal marked the first time that nominations were accepted from the general public. Nearly 6,000 nominations were received, and President Barack Obama selected 18 outstanding Americans to receive the award.