OXFORD, Miss. – Former Mississippi Gov. William Winter is
to receive a special Profile in Courage Award for Lifetime
Achievement May 12 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential
Library and Museum in Boston.
The honor recognizes Winter’s leadership in championing
racial equality and educational opportunity in
“This is an award that I never expected to receive, but
that I am very honored to accept,” Winter said. “It has
special meaning for me inasmuch as it bears the name of
President John Kennedy, whom I greatly admired.”
As governor of Mississippi in the early 1980s, Winter
called on the Mississippi Legislature to pass a landmark
education reform proposal aimed at raising the quality of
and broadening access to public education in the state.
Winter’s Education Reform Act of 1982 was nationally
acclaimed as one of the most progressive and comprehensive
pieces of education legislation that had been passed in the
country at that time.
He served on President Clinton’s Advisory Board on Race
1997-98. The following year, the William Winter Institute
for Racial Reconciliation was established at the University
“Governor Winter’s lifelong commitment to excellence and
equity in education and to racial justice and
reconciliation has long been the standard of public service
in Mississippi,” said Susan Glisson, director of the Winter
Institute at UM. “It is fitting now that the Kennedy
Library recognizes him as a national leader.”
Winter said Kennedy’s book “Profiles in Courage” inspired
him at the time it was written in 1956, particularly
because it singled out one of Kennedy’s and Winter’s
heroes, U.S. Sen. L.Q.C. Lamar of Mississippi.
“Lamar was recognized by Kennedy because he became a
respected voice for Southern and Northern reconciliation
after the Civil War. Racial and sectional reconciliation
remain a goal for all of us today,” Winter added.
The late president’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, expressed
the appropriateness of Winter’s selection for the honor.
“Governor Winter gives testimony to President Kennedy’s
belief that politics can truly be a noble profession,” said
Kennedy, president of the JFK Library Foundation. “His
lifetime of public service, both to his country and his
beloved state of Mississippi, has been distinguished by its
devotion to equality and justice. We are proud to honor
Past recipients of the Profile in Courage Award include
former President Gerald Ford, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, former
Navy General Counsel Alberta Mora, Ukraine President Viktor
Yushchenko, U.S. senators John McCain and Russell Feingold,
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, former governors Roy Barnes
(Ga.) and David Beasley (S.C.) and former U.S. Rep. Carl
Elliott Sr. (Ala.).
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is a
presidential library administered by the National Archives
and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the
John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a nonprofit
organization. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the
Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through
educational and community programs, a greater appreciation
and understanding of American politics, history and
culture, the process of governing and the importance of
For more information about the William Winter Institute for
Racial Reconciliation and its programs, contact Glisson at
662-915-6734 or go to http://www.olemiss.edu/winterinstitute/.