[CUA Office of Public Affairs]

CUA Senior Receives Award
For Essay On Conscience

April 20 1998


t.gif (986 bytes)homas Silvio Valente of Rutland, Vt., a senior politics major at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., has won the Young Scholars award, a $1,500 scholarship, from the Cosmos Club.

The award is given annually to a graduating senior at a member institution of the Consortium of Universities, an organization of 12 Washington, D.C., area universities. The student must demonstrate the potential for continuing superior intellectual contributions to his or her chosen field.

The Cosmos Club, a civic and social club in the nation's capital, awarded the scholarship to Valente on the basis of his essay on conscience versus constituency. He concluded that conscience should take priority in certain moral issues, basing his beliefs on an event that occurred while he was an intern with U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Leahy changed his vote on the partial birth abortion ban, voting to overturn President Clinton's veto of the ban. In a speech on the Senate floor, Leahy said he had decided he must vote his conscience on the issue, at the risk of going against the wishes of a sizable portion of his constituents.

"In Washington, you see so many politicians who determine their public policy positions solely via public opinion polling," Valente said. "It's nice to know that from Vermont, we have someone who is willing to take a stand based on what he thinks is the best policy for the nation."

Writing the essay, Valente said, "has allowed me to take the things that I've learned in philosophy courses at Catholic and apply them to every day experiences."

Valente, the son of Silvio and Kathleen Valente of Rutland, Vt., graduated from Mount St. Joseph's Academy and is a member of Christ the King Church, both in Rutland. In the fall, he will be attending the University of Virginia Law School.

Catholic University is a one-of-a-kind academic center: the national university of the Catholic Church, the only one established by the U.S. bishops, and located in the nation's capital. Established in 1887, the university is private and coeducational with 10 schools: religious studies, philosophy, law, arts and sciences, engineering, social service, nursing, music, library and information science, and architecture and planning. Metropolitan College provides degree programs for nontraditional students.

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Revised: April 20, 1998

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The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.