The Department of Politics is pleased to announce the following prizes in 2014-2015:

Libby Rosenfeld Himelstein Prize

The Libby Rosenfeld Himelstein Prize ($500) is awarded to the graduating senior Politics major who, in the judgment of the Department, submits the best essay
in the field of American Politics

DEADLINE: April 17, 2015.

There is no restriction on the form this essay may take, aside from a page limit of 25 pages. Students may submit (or faculty may propose) essays written for the competition, as independent work, or as papers prepared for courses in the Department. Essays will be judged by the usual criteria of excellence in research, argument, and expression. To apply, submit your essay to Patricia Ware (

The prize is awarded in the memory of Libby Rosenfeld Himelstein, a political science major in the class of 1954, who believed strongly in the tradition of graduates like Frances Perkins, who used their political skills for humanitarian ends. Libby Rosenfeld began her career working on elections law for the state of Connecticut, married a professor of English at Adelphi University, raised two sons who became physicians, did extensive volunteer work, and ended her career as a vice president and taxation expert for Prudential Securities, where she was known for her rock-ribbed integrity. An endowment to support this prize has been donated by her husband, sons, and brother.

Lawson-Loewenberg-Van Cleve Prize

The Lawson-Loewenberg-Van Cleve Prize ($500) is awarded to a graduating senior Politics major or minor with an excellent academic record and, preferably, planning for a career in public service.

Applicants should submit a transcript, résumé, and brief statement of their public service work and career plans to the Department of Politics ( These materials may be supplemented, where appropriate, by letters of evaluation from people for whom, or with whom, the applicant has worked in a public service capacity.

DEADLINE: April 17, 2015.

This prize honors Ruth Van Cleve and, at her request, Ruth Lawson and Gerhard Loewenberg. The generosity of Ruth Van Cleve’s late husband and their children is responsible for this prize.

Ruth Van Cleve received her BA magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke in 1946 and her LL.B. from Yale University in 1950. She was a member of the Mount Holyoke Board of Trustees for 20 years from 1965 through 1986. Ruth Van Cleve received an honorary LL.D. from Mount Holyoke in 1976 and a Medal of Honor from the Alumnae Association in 1979.

Ruth Van Cleve compiled an exemplary record of government service at the Interior Department and the Federal Power Commission. In 1964 at the Interior Department, Ruth Van Cleve became the first woman to serve as the Director of the Office of Territories; the first woman to serve as a bureau chief in that Department; and in 1975, the first to serve as an Assistant General Counsel of the Federal Power Commission. In 1977 Ruth Van Cleve became Director of the Office of Territorial and International Affairs, and she is considered the principal architect of the legislation leading to statehood for Alaska and Hawaii.

This prize is also named for Ruth Lawson, a 1933 graduate of Mount Holyoke, and a revered teacher of Ruth Van Cleve’s at Mount Holyoke who inspired her to pursue a career in public service; and for Gerhard Loewenberg, a close friend, a fellow Trustee of Mount Holyoke and former Chair of the Board of Trustees, and a former member of the Politics Department.