Wilson Center gives annual Patrick Henry Awards

Three alumni were recognized by the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest for their contributions to their local communities. This year's honorees were W. Birch Douglass '65, Robert P. Roper '68, and G. Michael Pace, Jr. '79.

Birch Douglass is a partner with McGuireWoods law firm in Richmond, specializing in tax law and charitable giving. In 2011, he was named "Richmond Tax Lawyer of the Year." He has served on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and as its president from 2004 to 2007; he was a founding member of the Hanover Tavern Foundation's Board of Directors, and was its president from 1994 to 1995. He is a current Trustee of Hampden-Sydney College and, in 2005, received an Alumni Citation for his support the College's activities, service to the College, financial commitment to the future of the institution, and "steady demonstration of the excellence that is the hallmark of the Hampden-Sydney man."

Bob Roper is a retired marketing executive with Philip Morris whose career took him from New York to Japan. He and his wife established the Robert & Kathleen Roper Family Fund through the Mathews (VA) Community Foundation with special attention to the needs of at-risk children; he is the former chairman of the Foundation. Mr. Roper also serves on as chairman of the Advisory Council of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Mike Pace is the managing partner of the law firm Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore in Roanoke and served as the president of the Virginia Bar Association in 2008. He is the founder of the Rule of Law Project, sponsored by the Association and the Virginia Law Foundation. The Project teaches youths about the importance of the rule of law in their daily lives and gives them a better understanding of the need to preserve and protect due process of law. In 2009, the World Justice Project selected the Rule of Law Project as one of five international programs featured at the World Justice Forum II in Vienna, Austria. Mr. Pace also serves on multiple boards in his community, is a Trustee of Hampden-Sydney College, and a past president of the Hampden-Sydney College Alumni Association. He is the son of the late Gerald M. "Jerry" Pace, Sr. '63.

Regular updates and news about speakers and events at the Wilson Center are available online at www.hsc.edu/Wilson-Leadership.html. To subscribe to the Wilson Center's newsletter, contact May Reed at mreed@hsc.edu or (434) 223-7077.