Post Date: October 5, 2004

At a ceremony on Oct. 4, Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan presented the Cox, Richardson, Coleman Award to California State Senator Sheila Kuehl. Named for three of Harvard Law School’s most distinguished graduates, Archibald Cox, Elliot Richardson and William Coleman, the award honors graduates for distinguished service in government.

A member of the HLS class of 1978, Kuehl has served in the California State Senate since 2000. Prior to that, she was a member of the State Assembly for six years. In her 10 years on the legislature, Kuehl has authored 120 bills that have been signed into law including family leave legislation, state mandated nurse-to-patient ratios, and protection for domestic violence victims and their children. Kuehl was the first openly gay or lesbian person elected to the California State Assembly and the first woman to be named Speaker pro Tempore.

When asked to give her advice to the students in the audience, Kuehl said, “Only do work that grabs your heart, I don’t care what they tell you about building up your resume.”

Kuehl was selected for the award along with U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes and Glenn Fine, inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice. Sarbanes and Fine received their awards last spring.