Learn about the winners of the department awards and the professors the awards are named for.


Associate Professor Maggie Gray with Meghan Lombardo

Hugh A. Wilson Award for Social and Economic Justice

The Hugh A. Wilson Award recognizes a senior Political Science major for activism in the areas of social and economic justice.

The selection criteria are activities that serve the public interest, traditionally vulnerable groups, and social and economic equality.

Past Award Recipient: 2014: Meghan Lombardo

Professor Regina Axelrod with Mahnoor Misbah

Professor Regina Axelrod with Mahnoor Misbah

W. Grafton Nealley Award for Excellence in Political Science

The department bestows the W. Grafton Nealley Award for Excellence in Political Science to its most outstanding senior.

A committee of faculty members evaluates potential award recipients, taking into consideration factors such as grade point average in political science, the number and difficulty of courses taken, and improvement over time.

Past Award Recipient: 2014: Mahnoor Misbah

Sindre Viksand

Associate Professor Katie Laatikainen with Sindre Viksand

Robert J. Johnson Prize for Best Political Science Paper

Every year the Political Science Department awards the Johnson Prize for the Best Paper in Political Science.

The paper must have been submitted in a political science course within the previous three semesters and received a grade of “A.” Students may enter more than one paper.

Past Award Recipient: 2014: Sindre Viksand

About the Professors Honored in the Awards

Hugh Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, taught courses on American Government at Adelphi for 35 years. Before working at Adelphi and through his early years at the university, Professor Wilson was an organizer of poor peoples’ movements in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties. His work focused on economic,social, and racial justice issues including welfare, housing, and employment rights. His justice work transitioned as he became a consultant to nonprofits and served as a trainer for nonprofit boards and staff. Professor Wilson was also a participant in the 1960’s civil rights and anti-war movements. He published numerous articles on black politics, the suburbs, the politics of nuclear power, and black families. He is still an active member of the Adelphi community having served as interim director of the Center for African-American and Ethnic Studies (spring 2007). He also returns to teach. Next semester he will teach the senior seminar.

Robert J. Johnson is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Adelphi University. He taught courses on law, the courts, and public policy. While at Adelphi, Professor Johnson earned a law degree from Hofstra University. He served as department chair several times. Professor Johnson was known to be the moral conscience of the university, speaking with integrity, clarity, and insight on controversial issues.

The late W. Grafton Nealley was a Professor of Political Science at Adelphi University, who taught courses on American Government. Professor Nealley was a co-founder of the Political Studies Department,, which was previously part of the History Department. Arriving at Adelphi in the 1960’s, he was known for his diplomatic manners within and outside the department, Professor Nealley is warmly remembered.

This piece appeared in the Political Science Newsletter Fall 2014 edition.

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
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