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United States Senator

Honorary Doctor of Laws



Background is taken from The National Archives, Learning Curve web site. Philip Hart was a Democratic U.S. Senator representing Michigan from 1959-1976. He was a graduate of Georgetown University in 1934 and the University of Michigan Law School in 1937. He was admitted to the Michigan bar after graduating from Michigan Law School in 1937. He worked as a lawyer in Detroit until serving in the U.S. Army. "In 1949 Hart was appointed as Michigan Corporation Securities Commissioner. This was followed by other posts such as State Director of the Office of Price Stabilization (1951-52), District Attorney of the Eastern Michigan District (1952-53), legal adviser to the Governor of Michigan (1953-54), and Lieutenant Governor (1955-58)... Hart was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1958. Over the next few years he gained the reputation for being a strong supporter of civil rights, anti-trust legislation and consumer and environmental protection. He took great pride in the fact that he was a leader in the Senate fight for the 1965 Voting Rights Act. As a result of his political activities he became known as the 'Conscience of the Senate.'" Upon Senator Hart's retirement Michigan House Concurrent Resolution No. 770 was adopted on November 22, 1976. A portion of the resolution states: "Whereas, The retirement of Senator Hart will leave a great void in the leadership of our nation, for Senator Hart championed the causes of peace, the issues of consumer protection, the need for antitrust actions, as well as the continuing quest for civil rights for all citizens of these United States; and Whereas, It is now incumbent upon all citizens of this State to recommit themselves to the qualities of leadership, honesty, integrity, humility, compassion, and unselfish devotion so characterized by Senator Hart. Most certainly, his greatest legacy will be this monument of humane goodness and moral worth; which is vital to maintaining our tradition of government of, by, and for the people; and Whereas, The political record of Senator Hart is a beacon of hope for restoration of the faith and trust once accorded elected officials. Called the conscience of the Senate by his associates, regardless of their partisan affiliation, Senator Hart made his incorruptible spirit and noble character a testament upon which other men and women may call to carry on his noble tradition of distinguished moral leadership; and Whereas, Senator Hart is so admired by his colleagues that they have honored him by placing his name on the new Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., and on the Visitors Center at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan; and Whereas, The depth of insight and strength of character of Senator hart made his every act sincere and reasonable, earning him a place in the hearts and minds of a grateful citizenry, for he is deeply cognizant that all people are bonded together by the same threads of struggle, sacrifice, victory, and faith in themselves and in their Creator; and..... Therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That the weekend of December 10 through December 13, 1976, be commemorated as a time to reflect upon the ideals of morality and integrity in public service which have been epitomized by the life of United States Senator Philip A. Hart; and be it further Resolved, That a copy of this tribute be transmitted to Senator Hart and his family in testimony to the high esteem held for him by the Michigan Legislature." H.R. Con. Res 770, 78th Leg., 113 Sess. (MI 1976) The honorary degree was awarded to Senator Hart posthumously in February, 1978.

University of Detroit

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