Awards Dinner

Register for the 2017 Awards DinnerEach spring in Washington, DC, the lobbying and government relations community gathers for an evening of camaraderie to honor the recipients of the Bryce Harlow Award and the Business-Government Relations Award. The lively gathering at a local DC hotel offers friends an opportunity to visit with one another, and to celebrate the accomplishments of the business-government relations community. During the dinner, old friends and colleagues warmly recognize our award honorees, and the Bryce Harlow Fellows — young professionals selected for the prestigious Bryce Harlow Fellowship — are recognized and welcomed into the business-government relations community. Dinner proceeds are used to support the fellowship program and the foundation’s various other educational activities.

History of the Annual Bryce Harlow Foundation Awards Dinner

Past Winners’ RemarksOn June 3, 1981, about 150 of Bryce Harlow’s friends and admirers attended the Bryce N. Harlow Recognition Dinner to honor him for his 40 years of outstanding public and private contributions to the advancement of professional advocacy. Emmett Hines, head of the Washington office for Armstrong World Industries, served as master of ceremonies and remarks were made by many of Harlow’s friends and colleagues. Even Sally Studebaker, Bryce’s able assistant at Procter & Gamble and who would later become his wife, spoke in tribute to the honoree. President Ronald Reagan could not attend but sent his best wishes through a letter that was read from the podium.

The following year, the Foundation held a second dinner and awarded the first Bryce Harlow Business-Government Relations Award to John Harper, former CEO of Alcoa. 450 guests from the corporate representative community attended the event at the Capital Hilton Hotel. The annual dinner has continued for decades, and draws an overflow crowd of advocacy professionals, members of Congress, and congressional staff. The Washington Post has called the dinner “the premier social event for Washington’s lobbyists.”

The Bryce Harlow Award

The first Bryce Harlow Award was presented in 1982, the year following the Foundation’s special tribute to Bryce Harlow himself. Initially called the Bryce Harlow Business-Government Relations Award, the prize was awarded for an individual’s contribution to the field of business-government relations. Given for a single specific but lasting contribution or a series of activities, the award acknowledged the award recipient’s achievement and influence in advancing the understanding, trust, respect and cooperation between business and government that would ultimately benefit the country as a whole.

The annual award eventually became known simply as the Bryce Harlow Award and the honor was bestowed each year on a notable individual, most often an elected official, with a career that echoed the work and life of Bryce Harlow and which was built on championing the principles of integrity, dedication and professionalism in the business-government relations community.

The Business-Government Relations Award

In 2002, the Board of Governors believed it was important to give a special honor to an individual from the ranks of the lobbying, government relations and public affairs professions. The Foundation established its second award, the Business-Government Relations Award, given to a leader in the professional advocacy community in recognition of an exemplary lifelong career in the profession.