WILLIAMSBURG-The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation awarded retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy with its highest honor, The Williamsburg Award, on Friday, November 19 at the Williamsburg Inn. Kennedy is the second person to receive the award, with Sir Winston S. Churchill being the first on December 7, 1955.
Kennedy received the distinction in tribute to his lifelong dedication of advancing the cause of liberty, advocating for civic education, and furthering the quest for freedom for all individuals who would seek it.
Kennedy retired from the foundation’s board at a meeting in early November and received the award at a formal dinner to honor his 20 years of service as a Colonial Williamsburg trustee, which is the longest in foundation history. He also received Colonial Williamsburg’s prestigious Churchill Bell award in honor of his longtime service.
“Justice Kennedy exemplifies the spirit of The Williamsburg Award, just as Sir Winston Churchill did in 1955 as the first and only other recipient of Colonial Williamsburg’s highest honor,” said Carly Fiorina, chairman of the Colonial Williamsburg Board of Trustees, in a press release. “For his unwavering commitment to America’s founding ideals that were tested throughout his 43-year legal career, we honor him with The Williamsburg Award to express our appreciation for his work with the foundation and for his contribution to America’s judicial system to champion the cause of freedom.”
A champion of liberty and individual rights, Kennedy served on the Supreme Court from 1988 to 2018 and authored majority opinions in landmark cases ranging from protecting the habeas corpus rights of prisoners and shielding juveniles and the intellectually disabled from the death penalty to securing the right to marriage for same-sex couples.
As the longest-serving trustee in The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s history, Kennedy assumed a leadership role in many of the foundation’s most significant projects during the past two decades while serving on the board.
“Justice Anthony Kennedy served on The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Board of Trustees during a time of great change, both at the foundation and within society,” said Cliff Fleet, president and CEO of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Due to his unwavering support for Colonial Williamsburg’s educational mission, fellow trustees awarded Kennedy the Churchill Bell, which was established in 1992 to “recognize the institution’s most distinguished stewards and friends,” according to archived documents.
Kennedy is the 13th recipient of the Churchill Bell, which was last awarded on Nov. 22, 2014, to former Colonial Williamsburg President and CEO Colin Campbell and his wife Nancy Campbell.