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Former U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent Receives LVC Founders Medal

Rep. Charlie Dent and President Lewis E. Thayne

Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, president of Lebanon Valley College, presented former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent the College’s Founders Medal during a ceremony Feb. 18, President’s Day. The event was held in the atrium of the Vernon and Doris Bishop Library on campus. Rep. Dent also met with students and faculty, and spoke with students in politics classes following the ceremony. He spoke about “Presidential Power and Congress: Checks and Balances in a Time of Divided Government.” 

Rep. Dent retired in May 2018 after serving nearly seven terms as the U.S. House Representative for the Fifteenth Congressional District of Pennsylvania (2005–2018). Dating to 1990, he has been a close friend of the College and its students, supporting pre-law majors, Peace Corps candidates, and those interested in interning and serving in the government. Today, he is a senior policy advisor for DLA Piper, a global law firm, and contributor for CNN.

The Founders Medal is one of the highest commendations issued by the College. The award recognizes individuals whose character and leadership, in the spirit of the founders of Lebanon Valley College—Thomas Rhys Vickroy and G.W. Miler Rigor—enhance the lives of those in Central Pennsylvania. Previous recipients include Pennsylvania Governors Thomas W. Corbett ’71 and Edward G. Rendell; philanthropists Frank Dixon, Jeanne Donlevy Arnold H’10, and William Lehr, Esq.; and Major General Jessica L. Wright. 

In announcing the honor, President Thayne said, “Charlie Dent models what we teach our students—be informed, flexible, and open-minded, to make the best decisions for the greater good. He has done so much for Pennsylvania and the United States, and we are honored to call him a friend of the College.” 

During his career in government, Rep. Dent served as chair of the United States House Committee on Ethics and as a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, where he chaired the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. Also for the Committee on Appropriations, Rep. Dent was vice chair of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and a member of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

Rep. Dent sponsored or co-sponsored numerous bills, including the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, the Safe Schools Improvement Act (which would require schools to adopt policies to prevent bullying and harassment of all students, including LGBT students), the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (which would have banned employment discrimination based on sexual orientation), and the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011.

In December 2010, Rep. Dent was one of just 15 Republican House members to vote to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on openly gay service members in the U.S. Military. At the Caucus level, Rep. Dent was a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus and U.S.-Japan Caucus, and a founding member of the House Hydrogen Fuel Cell Caucus.

Before being elected to his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005, Rep. Dent served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1991–1998) and Pennsylvania Senate (1999–2004). He earned his B.A. from the Pennsylvania State University and M.P.A. from Lehigh University.