Emily Ullman Wins 2002 Profile in Courage Essay Contest

For Immediate Release: May 6, 2002
Further information: Tom McNaught (617) 514-1662
Ann Scanlon

Boston - Emily Ullman, a 17 year-old senior at the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology in Hackensack, New Jersey, and a resident of Palisades, New York, was honored today by Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy’s family during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum for her prize-winning entry in the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students.

The annual Profile in Courage Essay Contest invites students from across the nation to write an essay about a political issue at the local, state or national level and an elected official in the United States who has acted courageously to address that issue.

The Profile in Courage Essay Contest is named for President Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers to fight for what they believed in. The essay contest is sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and supported by Fidelity Investments.

Ullman’s winning essay centered on the integrity and political courage demonstrated by the late George M. Michaels, a New York State Assemblyman, who, on April 9, 1970, changed his original "no" vote to a "yes" vote, thereby ensuring passage of landmark abortion rights legislation that, minutes earlier, had been defeated by a vote of 74 to 74. In what many believe was the result of his decision of conscience to do what he thought was right, Michaels was defeated in his bid for reelection.

Ullman’s winning essay was selected from a total of 2,851 submissions from high school students across the nation. Emily will receive a $3,000 first place prize and a hardcover copy of Profiles in Courage. Emily’s nominating teacher, Patricia Hans, was also be honored with the John F. Kennedy Public Service Grant in the amount of $500 for school projects encouraging student leadership and civic engagement.

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest is designed to help high school students appreciate the importance of public service and the difficult choices that elected officials often face," said John Shattuck, Chief Executive Officer of the Kennedy Library Foundation. "We believe it is an appropriate way of honoring the memory of President Kennedy who believed deeply that one person can make a difference and that every person should try. Emily Ullman is to be congratulated for her understanding of this very special type of leadership and courage."

Shattuck also thanked Fidelity Investments for sponsoring the national essay contest and under writing its expanded outreach to schools.

"We thank Fidelity Investments for their support," Shattuck said. "We appreciate their exemplary support and demonstration of civic responsibility."

Ullman lives in Palisades, New York, with her parents, Eva Turbiner and Ralph Ullman, and her younger brother, David. She will be attending Swarthmore College as a freshman in the fall.

Ullman and her family were the guests of the Kennedy family and the Kennedy Library Foundation at today’s ceremony honoring United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Dean Koldenhoven, the one-term Mayor of Palos Heights, Illinois, this year’s recipients of the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan was honored for his commitment to shaping a world response to international terrorism, negotiating peaceful settlements to international and regional conflicts, organizing an international campaign to combat the global AIDS epidemic, and bringing hard-fought reforms to the world body of nations. Former Mayor Dean Koldenhoven was honored for speaking out against bigotry and religious intolerance toward an Islamic community that had hoped to convert a local church into a mosque. A special and unprecedented Profile in Courage Award for Public Service was also awarded to the thousands of selfless public servants who demonstrated extraordinary courage and heroism in response to the tragic events of September 11.

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to an elected official who has withstood strong opposition from constituents, powerful interest groups or adversaries to follow what she or he believes is the right course of action. The Profile in Courage Award was created by the Kennedy Library Foundation in 1989 to honor President Kennedy’s commitment and contribution to public service. It is presented on or near May 29, in celebration of President Kennedy’s birthday.

The Profile in Courage Award and the Profile in Courage Essay Contest are governed by an eleven-member committee chaired by John Seigenthaler, Founder of the First Amendment Center. Committee members are David Burke, former president of CBS News; Thad Cochran, U.S. Senator from Mississippi; Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children=s Defense Fund; Antonia Hernandez, President of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Elaine Jones, Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Caroline Kennedy, president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; Edward M. Kennedy, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts; Paul G. Kirk, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; David McCullough, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; and Olympia Snowe, U.S. Senator from Maine. The essay contest was staffed by Lisa Menendez Weidman of the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum’s Education Department.

The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The Kennedy Library and Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing, and the importance of public service.

Fidelity Investments is the largest mutual fund company in the United States, and the No. 1 provider of workplace retirement savings plans. Through a program known as Fidelity Cares, Fidelity actively supports community and civic initiatives across the United States in areas where it operates. Fidelity also promotes numerous volunteer efforts and partners with civic and non-profit organizations.