Danville's Dobbins Among Winners of U.Va. Sorensen Institute's Annual Alumni Awards

May 10, 2012 — The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, a nonpartisan, public service leadership training program based at the University of Virginia, named a Danville banker the recipient of its 2012 Service to Sorensen award. A former Northern Virginia delegate and a Fishersville businessman were winners of its 2012 Expression of Ideals award.

The Service to Sorensen award was presented to R. Helm Dobbins of Danville. Dobbins has been a Sorensen supporter and regional board member in Southern Virginia and has been instrumental in developing a Sorensen presence in the region. In addition to being tireless in carrying the Sorensen flag, both of his children have graduated from Sorensen's High School Leaders Program.

The Expressions of Ideals award recognizes the graduate who has, in the past year, best represented the ideals at the heart of the Sorensen mission: a spirit of ethics, bipartisanship and civic engagement. Winners of the award are Margi Vanderhye of McLean and Jon Hannah of Fishersville.

Vanderhye is a member of Sorensen's Statewide Board and a frequent speaker to classes and programs. Hannah represents State Farm across the commonwealth and through neighboring states, and there is nothing that he has been asked to do with Sorensen programs that he has not done, said Bob Gibson, executive director of the institute.

"Helm Dobbins, Margi Vanderhye and Jon Hannah embody the spirit of Sorensen, and have proven to be deserving of this high honor. We are proud that they represent our organization," he said.

The three were honored April 17 at Sorensen's 11th Annual Gala at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The gala honored Virginia's nine living governors, all of whom attended.

The Sorensen Institute offers leadership development programs for residents of Virginia interested in becoming more active in public service, whether as community leaders or as elected officials. The programs include study of general ethical principles as they relate to public service and seek to enhance trust, civility and respect in politics.