The Richard A. Ports Public Affairs Award recognizes the outstanding junior in ATO with a demonstrated interest in public affairs/political science. The prestigious award features a summer internship in Washington, D.C., when available, for the most outstanding Junior interested in public affairs.
This program memorializes Richard A. Ports, Mount Union ‘50, Chief of Province XII, who was killed in an auto accident while returning home from visiting a chapter. Brother Ports was active in California and national politics prior to his tragic death in 1965.
Because of Richard A. Ports great interest in public affairs, his business and political associates contributed to an endowment fund established in memory. Each summer an undergraduate(s) of Alpha Tau Omega will win a scholarship sending them to Washington for his internship in various federal departments or office.
The student(s) chosen must be a junior majoring in political science or interested in possible careers in government service; however, this prestigious award is educational in nature, and will not include specific partisan political activities.
The first internship was awarded 1966 and during the 60’s era, the internships were located at various ATO congressional offices including Senator Alan Simpson’s office.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the undergraduate(s) served as White House interns.
In the 1990’s, the program became a split internship with the undergraduate working for both the Vice President and in his capacity as Senate President Pro Tem.
In 2000, undergraduates began serving as White House interns working directly with Matthew Smith, Ball State ’93 who served as the Assistant Director of Public Liaison for President Bush.
Requirements for consideration for the awards are:
- Each candidate must be initiated member of ATO in good standing,
- Be a junior majoring in political science or interested in possible careers in government service,
- And have a minimum cumulative grade point average of a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.