2020 Distinguished Citizen Award

During this year’s virtual gala, Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge recognized 3 outstanding honorees with the 2020 Distinguished Citizen Award – The Philly POPS, Dr. Rogers Smith and Dr. Larry Arnn.

Frank Giordano, President and CEO of the Philly POPS, accepts the Distinguished Citizen Award on behalf of the POPS from David Harmer, President and CEO.
Dr. Rogers Smith accepts his award at Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
David Harmer sits down with Dr. Larry Arnn to present him his award.

The Philly POPS, led by President and CEO Frank Giordano, is the largest standalone pops orchestra in the United States. Founded in 1979, The Philly POPS delights audiences with inspired performances of American popular music and celebrates this distinctive musical heritage through a wide array of initiatives. The Philly POPS’s free Salute Series celebrates the American tradition of service around important holidays.  Along with their well-known POPS on the Parkway for July 4th, the Pops also perform an I’ll Be Home for Christmas concert to kick off the holiday season with free admission for active military, police, and fire department families. Bringing music to the Philadelphia Public Schools is also very important to the POPS.  Launched in 2015, POPS in Schools, brings teaching artists into schools across Philadelphia to train, coach, and mentor music students.  This program reaches approximately 2,000 students a year.

Dr. Rogers Smith is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania and is the immediate past president of the American Political Science Association. A dedicated scholar of the US Constitution, Dr. Smith has spent his career engaged with difficult questions around citizenship, race, immigration, and religion. Not only is his scholarship thoughtful and thought provoking, but he recognizes the need for civic education for all Americans, especially in the face of current political polarization. To that end, Professor Smith was founding Director of the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism (now the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy) where he developed faculty, graduate, and undergraduate workshop series, a publication series, and postdoctoral fellowships all producing and disseminating current scholarship covering topics on the understanding of democracy and the ongoing quest for democratic values, ideas, and institutions throughout the world.

Dr. Larry P. Arnn is the president of Hillsdale College, where he is also a professor of politics and history. Under his leadership, Hillsdale has, among other initiatives, developed free online courses on the Constitution that are available to all Americans eager to learn more about their heritage. Dr. Arnn is on the board of directors of the Heritage Foundation, the Henry Salvatori Center of Claremont McKenna College, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Claremont Institute. Dr. Arnn has authored three publications: Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education; The Founders Key: The Divine and Natural Connection between the Declaration and The Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It; and Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.

2019 Distinguished Citizen Award

Tom Riley (left), president of the Connelly Foundation, and Alan B. Miller

This year’s Distinguished Citizen Awards were presented to Alan B. Miller, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Universal Health Services (UHS), and the Connelly Foundation.

UHS, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in King of Prussia, is one of the largest hospital management companies in the nation, owning and operating more than 350 facilities in 37 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. Mr. Miller has received numerous awards for his business and charitable activities. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1991 and Financial World named him CEO of the Year in hospital management. Modern Healthcare named him one of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” for the years 2003-2017.

The Connelly Foundation, founded in 1955 by John and Josephine Connelly, has invested more than $500 million in helping the people of the Philadelphia area, supporting those whose leadership can bring positive change to their communities. From the start, the emphasis has been on increasing access to higher education, strengthening Catholic schools, and providing help and opportunity to the needy, priorities that continued under the leadership of the Connelly’s two oldest daughters, Josephine C. Mandeville as president and Emily C. Riley as executive vice president. The current president, Tom Riley, accepted the award on behalf of the foundation.

2018 Distinguished Citizen Award

At this year’s event, we are honored to recognize the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, John Aglialoro, and Joan Carter as Freedoms Foundation’s Distinguished Citizen Award Recipients.

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust seeks to enrich the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest by providing grants and enrichment programs to nonprofit organizations that seek to strengthen the region’s educational, spiritual , and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. Murdock trustee Jeff Grubb accepted the award on behalf of the organization.



Ms. Carter and Mr. Aglialoro are co-founders of UM Holdings, Ltd., a firm that owns and manages a portfolio of companies with a mission to increase net worth through appreciation in the value of an evolving array of assets.

Joan is a past President of the Union league of Philadelphia, the first woman President in the League’s 150 year history. She is the Chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation, which is a leader within the Civil War community, and Chairman of FreedomWorks Foundation, a grass roots organization dedicated to individual liberty and free markets.

John is on the Board of Directors of the Museum of American Revolution and is on the Board of Trustees of The Barnes Foundation and also The Atlas Society, an objectivist think-tank. Owner of the movie rights to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Aglialoro formed Atlas Productions Ltd., which produced the movie trilogy of Rand’s best-selling novel.

2017 Distinguished Citizen Award

Freedoms Foundation was proud to present Robert and Penny Fox as Freedoms Foundation’s 2017 Distinguished Citizen Award Recipients. Entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Bob and Penny exemplify the five pillars of responsible citizenship – respect, accountability, generosity, participation, and productivity. Mr. & Mrs. Fox endowed the Fox Leadership Program at The University of Pennsylvania.

The Foxes endowed the Robert and Penny Fox Historical Costume Collection at Drexel University. Mr. Fox also serves on the Board of Managers of the Wistar Institute and is an emeritus trustee of the University of Pennsylvania.

Robert Fox is the Chairman and CEO of R.A.F. Industries Inc and Penny Fox is an Emeritus Trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Pennsylvania Ballet, and Chair Emerita of the Moore College of Art and Design.

Captain Thomas Kelley spoke on behalf of all the Medal of Honor Recipients about the need for good teachers and the difference they can make in the lives of their students by helping to form their character and help them to become citizens committed to our democracy. He praised the partnership between Freedoms Foundation and the Medal of Honor Society and Foundation whose Character Development Program is central to many of our professional development programs for teachers.

Will Ellery of Indiana spoke passionately on behalf of his fellow teachers in support of high quality professional development programs that benefit both teachers and their students. He attended our program in 2016 and was the VFW Smart/ Maher National Teacher of the Year for the 2015-2016 school year.