AUSTIN – Robert and Maureen Decherd have been selected as recipients of the John Henry Faulk Award for Civic Virtue in honor of their dedication to community service, open government and the First Amendment.
The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas bestows the award on outstanding Texans who represent the best traditions of civic involvement and enlightened philanthropy. The award is named for author, humorist and broadcaster John Henry Faulk, who spent much of his career fighting for First Amendment liberties.
Robert Decherd was one of the founders of the FOI Foundation of Texas, formed to protect freedom of the press and the public’s right to open government. He helped to fund the non-profit organization and served as its first president from 1978-81.
During his 40-year journalism career, Decherd has been a leader in the newspaper and television industries. He retired in September as chairman, president and chief executive of the A. H. Belo Corporation, the parent company of The Dallas Morning News. He now serves as vice chairman of the board of directors.
The Decherds have been active in many aspects of Texas civic life including contributing to the recently-completed Belo Garden in downtown Dallas and the Belo Center for New Media, a state-of-the-art building for communication studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Robert Decherd has long demonstrated his commitment to protecting the First Amendment and the people’s right to know,” said Dale Leach, immediate past president of the FOI Foundation. “We are proud to honor Robert and Maureen for their lifetime of service.”
FOI Foundation leaders will present the award to the Decherds on March 28 at a luncheon in Dallas celebrating open government and the First Amendment.
“Maureen and I are deeply grateful for this recognition. The FOI Foundation of Texas is one of America’s strongest advocates of free speech and open government. We are proud to have had a part in its establishment and growth over the years, thanks in large measure to the sponsorship of the Foundation by Belo Corp.,” said Robert Decherd.
The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas established the John Henry Faulk Award in 1997 and previously bestowed the honor on Bill and Diana Hobby; Dolph and Janey Briscoe; Bernard and Audre Rapoport; and Red and Charline McCombs.