The Harold Keller Public Service Leadership Award was established by the Stennis Center to honor the long-time leader of the Stennis Student Congress, Harold C. Keller, a speech and debate coach from Davenport, Iowa. In the year 2003, Keller stepped down from his post of National Clerk of the Congress. For over 25 years, the man affectionately known as “Mr. Congress,” was a driving force in planning and implementing the yearly event. Keller always believed the greatest value of Student Congress is the preparation and inspiration it provides to future leaders in public service. In his years of service, Keller oversaw everything from printing legislation and organizing the chambers to supervising the judging and checking the results. The late Billy Tate, then president of the National Speech and Debate Association, said at the time, “No person has done more to promote and improve the Stennis Student Congress as an event that Harold Keller.” The award that pays tribute to Keller’s long-time support recognizes an individual who has successfully applied lessons learned through Student Congress to become an effective leader in public service.

Winners of the Harold Keller Award for Public Service Leadership
2019 Rex Buffington