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November 8, 2011
By Claudene Wharton
University of Nevada, Reno Political Science Professor John Marini thinks of himself as "relatively obscure." However, a prominent national think tank on government and the American Founding, The Claremont Institute, finds Marini's writing and scholarship in political philosophy as important as such notables as Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist George Will and author William F. Buckley.
Marini was recently awarded the institute's annual Henry Salvatori Prize in the American Founding, joining previous prominent recipients of the prize, including Will and Buckley. The award recognizes his 30 years of respected scholarship in the areas of American politics and public administration, focusing on the separation of powers, and bureaucratic politics. He has been at the University of Nevada, Reno, continuously since 1988 and was a visiting professor in 1981-82.
Marini said the award is usually given to more prominent public figures, so he was "completely surprised - had no inkling" when he was notified he was to receive this year's award, which also comes with a $35,000 prize.
"I just do my work and am happy with that, but I guess the work I have been doing for the past 30 years has now become much more main stream," he said.
Despite Marini's humility, his receiving the Salvatori Prize follows several career accomplishments and appointments. He received a White House appointment during the Reagan Administration to work as a special assistant to the chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C. He also served as a director of the Legislative Intern Program in the Nevada State Legislature from 1989 to 1995, and since 1989, has been a member of the Nevada Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
Marini has published numerous articles on American politics and administration, budgeting, campaign finance and bureaucracy. He has authored or edited three books while teaching in the University's College of Liberal Arts: The Politics of Budget Control: Congress, the Presidency, and the Growth of the Administrative State; The Imperial Congress, Crisis in the Separation of Powers; and Politics, Culture and Society: Readings on the American Tradition.
"This award recognizes the importance of Professor Marini's work over three decades, not just within the discipline of political science, but for our thinking about democratic ideas and institutions," said Scott Casper, dean of the University's College of Liberal Arts.
Marini is also a senior fellow of The Claremont Institute, contributing writings and sometimes teaching summer courses to students from all over the country who compete to be accepted into the institute's prestigious summer programs. He is working on a fourth book, American Constitutionalism and the Administrative State.
The Claremont Institute is a nonprofit organization and conservative think tank based in Claremont, Calif., with a mission of "restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life." The institute publishes the Claremont Review of Books, a quarterly journal of political thought and statesmanship, as well as other books and publications.