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Professor Shaw Honored by International Association of Torch Clubs

Bart Shaw, professor of history at Cedar Crest College, earned the 2010 W. Norris Paxton Award, a national prize given by the International Association of Torch Clubs (IATC). The Paxton Award honors the best nominated paper delivered to a Torch Club each year. Shaw’s paper, titled “The United States Vice Presidency: Its History and Hard Times,” focuses on the gradual transition of the vice president’s office from one of little power to one of increasing power and prestige.

“All vice presidents are significant because they possess great potential power. This often becomes apparent in a crisis. Think, for example, of the confusion that followed the shooting of Ronald Reagan, or the efforts to protect President Bush and Vice President Cheney during the 9/11 attacks,” Shaw said. “Since the vice presidency of Richard Nixon, the office of vice president has been gaining stature and influence. Richard Cheney, especially in his first term, was probably the most powerful vice president in American history.”

The paper was originally presented to the Lehigh Valley Torch Club, which submitted the nomination for the Paxton Award, and later at the IATC’s convention in Youngstown, Ohio. A printed version of the paper recently appeared in The Torch, the Torch Club’s national journal. TORCH is an international association of local clubs in which respected persons practicing recognized professions enjoy the cultural interchange of knowledge. There are about 75 Torch Clubs in the United States and Canada.

“Obviously I’m honored to earn this award. Every year, the International Association of Torch Clubs sponsors hundreds of papers and presentations. I’m very much indebted to the Lehigh Valley Torch Club for nominating my paper and to the Paxton Prize Award Committee for selecting it for the Paxton Prize,” Shaw said.