By Sarah Wiley
News Editor Emerita
Denison alumnus Richard ‘Dick’ Lugar, ‘54, is a former member of the United States Senate, a member of the Denison University Board of Trustees, a Rhodes Scholar, and, as of last Tuesday, an Honorary Knight of the British Empire. When the senator visited campus last week for the symposium and a board meeting, this honor was recognized by both visiting Senator Olympia Snowe and Denison President Dale T. Knobel.
Lugar met Queen Elizabeth for the first and only time in 1954 as a Rhodes Scholar at Pennbrook, Oxford. “She greeted each one of us [the Rhodes Scholar class] individually and asked me how things were in Indiana,” he said.
Lugar has maintained his relationship with the U.K. throughout his tenure in the Senate. As the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lugar worked to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and the U.K., also receiving each of the representatives of Great Britain upon their arrival to the United States.
The senator was granted honorary knightship because regular knightship is only available to British citizens. Lugar cannot attach the ‘sir’ before his name. He can, however, put the initials KBE (which stands for Knight of the British Empire) behind his name.
Lugar was informed a couple of months ago by the British ambassador that he had been nominated for honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth. This honor has been bestowed upon only twelve Americans for political activity, and only three other members of the Senate, including Senator John Warner of Virginia, who was in attendance.
The senator explained that he was given a “very beautiful medallion on a sash, and another in a box as well as a certificate signed by Queen Elizabeth.”