skip to Main Content

Justice Clarence Thomas Receives Benedict Leadership Award

Washington, DC – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been named the fourth recipient of the Benedict Leadership Award. The award was to be given at Belmont Abbey College but Just one day before the scheduled presentation ceremony at Belmont Abbey College, the event was cancelled due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

The presentation of this prestigious award, however, was recently held in the Justice’s chambers.

The Institute selected Justice Thomas in recognition for his extraordinary career as a defender of the Constitution and his enduring leadership as a man of faith.

On July 1, 1991, Justice Thomas was nominated by President George Bush to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. He is currently the longest serving Justice on the Supreme Court. He also released a book in 2007 entitled My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir, which became an immediate bestseller.

Conor Gallagher, Executive Director of the Benedict Leadership Institute, made the following comment to Justice Thomas: “While your life displays numerous reasons for being worthy of the Benedict Leadership Award, the Committee wishes to honor and highlight your leadership in defense of our nation’s Constitution and your personal witness as a man of faith.”

Justice Thomas has a particular fondness for Belmont Abbey’s tradition, for he was educated and loved by Benedictine nuns, which he affectionately refers to as “my nuns”. Coming from dire poverty in a segregated world, it was the compassion and faithfulness of these Benedictine sisters that helped shape the man that Justice Thomas has become.

The Benedict Leadership Institute was founded in 2016 by Belmont Abbey College to develop and inspire Catholic leaders to transform society while remaining true to their faith. The Benedict Leadership Award aims to recognize outstanding men and women whose achievements reflect the heroic leadership of St. Benedict.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is a native of Concordia, Kansas, the son of Joseph and Marian DeMarais
Chaput. He joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, St. Augustine Province, in 1965, and was ordained
to the priesthood in 1970.

In his early career, His Excellency served as Vicar Provincial of Capuchin Province of Mid-America and
pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Colorado. He was elevated to Provincial Minister and Chief Executive prior
to being ordained Bishop of Rapid City, SD in 1988. As Bishop, he founded the Office of Native Ministry
and served on the USCCB Subcommittee on Native American Catholics. Pope John Paul II appointed him
Archbishop of Denver in 1997. A descendent of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe on his maternal side,
he is the second Native American to be ordained a bishop in the United States, and the first Native
American archbishop.

As Archbishop of Denver, he served as Chancellor of Redemptorist Mater Seminary, and founded the St.
John Vianney Theological Seminary. His Excellency co-founded the lay-organizations: FOCUS, CALL,
ENDOW, and the Augustine Institute. He served on countless Boards and USCCB Committees including
the Committee for Divine Worship, Migration, Pro-Life Activities, and Healthcare. He received Apostolic
Commissions to visit seminaries in the United States, Australia and Canada.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Archbishop of Philadelphia in 2011 where His Excellency began the
arduous task of restructuring the Archdiocese. He was appointed to the Pontifical Council for the Laity,
hosted the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit to the United States, and was elected to the
permanent council of the Synod of Bishops. He founded IRRP, a reconciliation program for victims of
sexual abuse. After nine years of faithful leadership, Pope Francis accepted his resignation and he
became Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia in 2020.

Michael P. Warsaw

Michael P. Warsaw is the Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer of EWTN. He joined EWTN in 1991 and has held senior management positions in the areas of television production, satellite operations, and technical services, working directly with Mother Angelica, the network’s founder, on all of her major initiatives. Michael was named President of EWTN in 2000 and assumed the post of chief executive officer in 2009. With the Network’s 2011 acquisition of the National Catholic Register, he became its publisher. Michael assumed the post of chairman of the board of EWTN in 2013. In that capacity he oversees the network’s strategic direction and mission around the world. In 2017, Pope Francis appointed him as a Consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications.

2018 Leonard A. Leo

Leonard A. Leo is a native of Long Island, New York.  He attended Cornell University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1986, and completed a law degree at Cornell Law School in 1989. While studying law at Cornell, Leo founded a student chapter of the Federalist Society in 1989 and is Executive Vice president today. Leo has been influential in the appointment of three Supreme Court nominees including Justices Roberts and Alito, and most recently advising President Trump on the appointment of Justice Gorsuch.

He was served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He has been a U.S. Delegate to the UN Council and UN Commission on Human Rights as well as the Organization of Security and Cooperation and World Health Assembly. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Leo served as National Co-Chairman of Catholic Outreach for the Republican National Committee, and as the 2004 Bush presidential campaign’s Catholic Strategist.  He serves on multiple Boards of Directors including: the National Prayer Breakfast, the Catholic Information Center, and The Catholic University of America. He is a Member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He and his wife Sally have raised seven children, two of whom were diagnosed with spina bifida in the womb.

2017 Carl A. Anderson

As supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl A. Anderson is the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization, which has nearly 2 million members.

Mr. Anderson has had a distinguished career as a public servant and educator. From 1983 to 1987, he served in various positions of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, including special assistant to the President and acting director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. Following his service at the White House, Mr. Anderson served for nearly a decade as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

From 1983 to 1998, Mr. Anderson taught as a visiting professor of family law at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. In 1988, he became the founding vice president and first dean of the Washington, D.C., session of this graduate school of theology now located at The Catholic University of America.

Since Mr. Anderson assumed the responsibilities of supreme knight in 2000, the Knights of Columbus have achieved new heights in charitable giving, providing in 2015 alone $175,079,192 directly to charity and more than 73.5 million hours in volunteer service.

In addition, Supreme Knight Anderson has overseen consistently strong growth in the Knights’ financial resources. In 2015, the Order’s insurance in force surpassed $100 billion, an amount that has more than doubled in the last 12 years.

Back To Top