Skip to main content Skip to navigation
The Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service

The Thomas S. Foley Award for Distinguished Public Service 2024

Tuesday April 9, 2024

VIP Reception from 5 p.m., Dinner from 6 p.m.

Please join Heather Foley and the Foley Institute for the presentation of the inaugural Thomas S. Foley Award for Distinguished Public Service to General James Mattis.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and four-star Marine Corps General James N. Mattis will be the inaugural recipient of the Thomas S. Foley Award for Distinguished Public Service at a ceremony to be held at the John J. Hemmingson Center on the Gonzaga University campus in Spokane.

Premier sponsors: Dr. and Mrs. Ed Schweitzer

Media sponsor: The Spokesman-Review


General James N. Mattis

Honorary Event Committee

  • Senator Patty Murray
  • Senator Maria Cantwell
  • Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers
  • WA Secretary of State Steve Hobbs
  • WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson
  • Spokane City Council President Betsy Wilkerson, Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner
  • WA State Senators Andy Billig, Perry Dozier, Jeff Holy, Mark Schoesler, Shelly Short, Judy Warnick
  • WA State Representatives Leonard Christian, Tom Dent, Mary DyeJenny Graham, Jacquelin Maycumber, Timm Ormsby, Marcus Riccelli, Joe Schmick, Suzanne Schmidt, Mike Volz, Alex Ybarra

The Distinguished Service Award is given to individuals who have demonstrated integrity, courage, and a commitment to democratic values in public service and whose body of work has had a lasting impact.

“We are honored to present this well-deserved award to Secretary Mattis and delighted that he has agreed to accept its inaugural presentation”, said Cornell Clayton, director of the Foley Institute.  “Mattis’ life of service to country in both military and civilian roles truly embodies the values of courageous leadership and integrity that define Tom Foley’s legacy.”

Secretary Mattis has demonstrated these values throughout his long and distinguished career. Born in Pullman, Washington, his long military career began in 1969, when he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, and included tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, before retiring from active service in 2013. He served as United States Secretary of Defense from 2017 to 2019.

The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service was established at Washington State University in 1995 to honor the service by Thomas S. Foley.  A Spokane native, he represented the citizens of the 5th congressional district for 30 years, becoming the 49th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and later served as U.S. ambassador to Japan.  He remains the highest elected official ever to hail from Washington state. The institute’s mission is to recognize his extraordinary legacy of public service and his belief that democracy requires an educated and informed public. Since its inception, the institute has developed a reputation for quality educational programs and engaging young people in public service.

Questions should be addressed to the Foley Institute. Contact: Richard Elgar | 509-335-3477


Watch General Mattis’ speak in 2022 at a Foley Institute event at WSU