Jefferson-Lincoln Awards

From left: Secretary Panetta, Christine Todd Whitman, John Hickenlooper, Sylvia Panetta and Mike Mullen.

The nineteenth annual Jefferson-Lincoln Awards: An Evening to Honor Lives of Public Service gala was held on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at The Inn at Spanish Bay.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D), former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R) and Admiral Michael Mullen, USN, were the latest in a series of national figures to be honored not only for their years of public service, but also for their spirit of bipartisanship in representing the American people as well as their own constituents.

Commenting on the honorees, Institute Chairman Secretary Leon E. Panetta said, “Our forefathers believed that strong leadership was critical to the survival of our new democracy–leadership based on common values, mutual respect, and a dedication to working together for the good of the nation.  The Panetta Institute is proud to honor three distinguished leaders who reflect those qualities.  At a time of concern about the future of our country, they give us hope that there are those committed to a good and better America.”

The Jefferson-Lincoln Awards are presented each year to individuals whose professional achievements represent exceptional commitment to the principles of our democracy, to bipartisanship and a dedication to encouraging the healthy function of the United States’ system of government through an informed electorate.

The gala evening features the presentations of awards as well as an outstanding four-course, gourmet dinner with fine wines prepared by honored local and visiting chefs.

The Jefferson-Lincoln Awards celebration is the Panetta Institute’s major fundraising event of the year, and helps support the many programs that promote the Institute’s goal of enhancing public policy and attracting thoughtful men and women to lives of public service.

Governor John Hickenlooper was inaugurated Governor of Colorado in 2011, having run on his history of collaboration with both parties. The first Denver mayor to be elected governor in 150 years, he was also the first geologist to become a governor in the history of the nation, and the first brewer since Sam Adams in 1792. Governor Hickenlooper is a champion of innovation, collaboration and efficiency. While in the Governor’s mansion he has recruited talent from all quarters, and is redefining the relationship between a state government and its business and civic communities. Since taking office, Governor Hickenlooper and his team have endeavored to make Colorado the most pro-business state, with the highest environmental and ethical standards. He is a great believer that governors, far more than Congress, can revive American democracy. Governor Hickenlooper writes about his experiences in politics, science and business in his recently published memoir entitled The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics.

Governor Christine Todd Whitman served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from January of 2001 until June of 2003. She was the 50th Governor of the State of New Jersey, serving as its first woman governor from 1994 until 2001. As Governor, Whitman earned praise from both Republicans and Democrats for her commitment to preserve a record amount of New Jersey land as permanent green space. As EPA Administrator, she promoted common-sense environmental improvements such as watershed-based water protection policies. Governor Whitman is the author of a New York Times best seller called It’s My Party Too, which was published in 2005 and argues for the need to find a “productive middle” in politics. In 2017, Governor Whitman was awarded The Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service. She currently serves as President of The Whitman Strategy Group (WSG), a consulting firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues

Admiral Michael Mullen is considered one of our nation’s most influential chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He advised both Republican and Democratic administrations, leading the military during a critical period of transition. Admiral Mullen has commanded at every level in the Navy, culminating as chief of naval operations in his service. He served as the seventeenth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was the principal military adviser to President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama as well as to the secretary of defense and the National Security Council. Serving from 2007 to 2011, Admiral Mullen oversaw the end of the combat mission in Iraq and the development of a new military strategy for Afghanistan. He is renowned for his role in dismantling “don’t ask, don’t tell” and allowing gay service members to serve openly.


The Jefferson-Lincoln Awards are made possible thanks to the generosity of a variety of individuals and organizations who have joined a growing list of sponsors and hosts for the event. For information about becoming a sponsor, please contact the Panetta Institute at 831-582-4200.

2018 sponsors include:


Governor John Hickenlooper, hosted by California State University, Monterey Bay

Governor Christine Todd Whitman, hosted by Anthony B. Varni and the Dennis and Gloria O’Brien Foundation 

Admiral Michael Mullen, hosted by Debra and George Couch III

U.S. Representative Jimmy Panetta and Carrie Panetta, hosted by Sue M. Antle

Secretary Leon Panetta and Sylvia Panetta, hosted by Sherry E. DeBoer 


Mike and Mary Orradre

The Panetta Family

Frank Quattrone

Susan Prest and Allen Sherwood

The Zenith — A Fairfax Company


Tonya Antle

Automobile Club of Southern California

Beacon Global Strategies

Laurie and David Benjamin

Blue Shield of California

California American Water

Cannery Row Company


Dignity Health

Dominican University of California


Household & Commercial Products

The Eubanks Family Foundation

Joanne Taylor Johnson

Koret Foundation

Lexus Monterey Peninsula/Victory Toyota

Mary Ellen and Michael E. Fox
Family Foundation

Stan McKee

Stan and Sharon Meresman

Montage Health

Monterey Bay Aquarium


Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Pacific Maritime Association and
Sugerman Communications Group

Peter G. Peterson Foundation

Pebble Beach Company

Commander Allen Sherwood, USN (Ret.)
and Susan Prest

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System

Santa Clara University

Southern Company

Stevens, Sloan & Shah CPAs

Louise and Edward Trout

Stanley Zax


Rusty Areias and Julie Sandino Areias

AT&T Communications

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Dr. and Mrs. Patrick Welton




Previous Jefferson-Lincoln honorees include:

Year 2017

  • Rob Portman, U.S. Senator (R), Ohio
  • Jack Reed U.S. Senator (D), Rhode Island

Year 2016

  • Tom Carper, U.S. Senator (D), Delaware
  • Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator (R), Alaska
  • Sam Farr, U.S. Representative (D), 20th Congressional District, California
  • Fran Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (2004-2008)
  • Robert Mueller, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (2002-2013)

Year 2015

  • Scott Pelley, Anchor, CBS Evening News and Managing Editor and Correspondent, 60 Minutes
  • Martha Raddatz, Chief Global Affairs correspondent, ABC News
  • David Martin, National Security Correspondent, Pentagon and State Department, CBS News
  • Jim Miklaszewski, Chief Pentagon Correspondent, NBC News

Year 2014

  • Barbara Starr, Chief Pentagon Correspondent, CNN
  • Mike Rogers, U.S. Representative (R), 8th District, Michigan
  • Ron Wyden, U.S. Senator (D), Oregon

Year 2013

  • Bob Schieffer, Host CBS Face the Nation
  • Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senator (D), Maryland
  • Saxby Chambliss, U.S. Senator (R), Georgia

Year 2012

  • Ray LaHood, 16th Secretary of Transportation (R)
  • Candy Crowley, Chief Political Correspondent and Anchor, CNN
  • Steny Hoyer, U.S. Representative (D), 5th District, Maryland

Year 2011

  • Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense (R) (2006-2011)
  • Alice Rivlin, Director, U.S. Office of Management and Budget (D) (1994-1996)
  • Wolf Blitzer, Lead Political Anchor, CNN

Year 2010

  • Tom Brokaw, Special Correspondent, NBC Nightly News
  • Cokie Roberts, Senior News Analyst, NPR and ABC News
  • David Brooks, Columnist, The New York Times

Year 2009

  • Bernard Shaw, Anchor Emeritus, CNN
  • Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, NBC News
  • Jim Lehrer, Executive Editor and Anchor, PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

Year 2008

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th Governor (R), California
  • Jane Harman, U.S. Representative (D), 36th District, California
  • Jim Saxton, U.S. Representative (R), 3rd District, New Jersey
  • Ron Brownstein, Political Director, Atlantic Media

Year 2007

  • David Broder, National Political Correspondent, The Washington Post
  • Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent, PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
  • Belva Davis, Television Journalist, KQED

Year 2006

  • Sherwood Boehlert, U.S. Representative (R), 24th District, New York
  • Ike Skelton, U.S. Representative (D), 4th District, Missouri

Year 2005

  • Susan Collins, U.S. Senator (R), Maine
  • Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator (D), California
  • Joseph Lieberman, U.S. Senator (D), Connecticut

Year 2004 

  • John Breaux, U.S. Senator (D), Louisiana
  • Olympia Snowe, U.S. Senator (R), Maine

Year 2003 

  • William Cohen, Secretary of Defense (R) (1997-2001)
  • Norman Mineta, 14th Secretary of Transportation (D)
  • Marty Meehan, U.S. Representative (D), 5th District, Massachusetts
  • Christopher Shays, U.S. Representative (R), 4th District, Connecticut

Year 2002 

  • Russ Feingold, U.S. Senator (D), Wisconsin
  • John McCain, U.S. Senator (R), Arizona

Year 2001 

  • John Murtha, U.S. Representative (D), 12th District, Pennsylvania
  • Bill Young, U.S. Representative (R), 10th District, Florida

Year 2000

  • John Chafee, U.S. Senator (R), Rhode Island Posthumously
  • Daniel Patrick Moynihan, U.S. Senator (D), New York