Janet H. Brown, Class of 1973

Your career in government service was jump-started when, at the age of 23, you were asked by former attorney general and ambassador Elliot Richardson to help him with research for a book on U.S. policy making. Two years later you assisted him in his duties as head of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Law of the Seas Conference and went on to serve as press secretary and speech writer to U.S. Senator John C. Danforth, and as special assistant to the deputy director of the White House Domestic Council, to the director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and to the administrator of the Office of Pension and Welfare Benefit Programs at the Department of Labor. Since 1987, when the Commission on Presidential Debates was established, you have served as its executive director, responsible for every detail in the massive organization of what amounts to our nation’s largest and most attentively followed class in civics. Pundits have speculated on the reasons for your success in the demanding world of Washington politics, but the consensus explanation has come to pivot on what one has called your “mixture of candor and intelligence, competence and calm.” In recognition of your distinguished achievement in the field of government service, Williams College is proud to present you with its Bicentennial Medal.