October 19, 2010 — Former Virginia Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, director of the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, has been named this year's recipient of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay's Environmental Leadership Award Honoring Frances H. Flanigan. The award recognizes Baliles' longstanding commitment to the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and his efforts to advance the cause of environmental stewardship in the bay's watershed.
"Gov. Baliles' focus on the environment was one of the hallmarks of his four years in office," said Mary Barber, chairman of the alliance's board of directors. "He elevated environmental protection to the forefront of Virginia's state government by creating a cabinet-level secretary of natural resources position. Since leaving office, he has continued that commitment through his work with organizations such as the Chesapeake Bay Blue Ribbon Panel and the Nature Conservancy.
"We are very pleased to be able to honor his work to protect the bay and its resources during a distinguished public service career of more than three decades."
Elected in November 1985, Baliles served as the commonwealth's chief executive from 1986 to 1990. During his term he worked to strengthen Virginia's environmental protection and sought to strengthen the state's environmental initiatives, including restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay.
Since leaving office, he has continued his environmental advocacy through efforts such as chairing a blue-ribbon panel that sought funding for bay protection and restoration efforts. He was also named conservationist of the year in 2005 by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Baliles was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1976 to 1982 and the commonwealth's attorney general from 1982 to 1985. After leaving the governorship, he became a partner at the law firm of Hunton and Williams, chairing the section on international law. He also specialized in aviation law and chaired the presidentially appointed Commission on Airline Competitiveness. He has served as chairman of the Public Broadcasting Service for multiple terms and on the board of the Nature Conservancy.
Founded in 1975, the Miller Center is a nonpartisan organization devoted to studying, examining and sharing information about the American government and presidency, as well as promoting discourse and consensus on national and international policy issues. Baliles was named its director in 2006.
The alliance has presented the award annually since 2002 to individuals who build a distinguished record of commitment to the restoration and protection of the bay. The recipient is selected by the alliance's board of directors. The award honors Frances Flanigan, founder and president of the organization from 1971 to 2001.
Baliles will receive the award Thursday at the alliance's annual "Taste of the Chesapeake" evening at the Annapolis (Md.) Maritime Museum.