Gary Cox, a professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego, received the William H. Riker prize on April 2. UR held a ceremony in the Welles-Brown room of Rush Rhees Library to present the prize. “Bill Riker, were he alive today, would be immensely pleased to have Gary Cox win the prize that bears his name,” Distinguished University Professor Emeritus Richard Fenno said. “Gary’s work in political science has very much followed the very careful, quantitative and theoretical stream of research that Bill Riker had a big hand in starting here at [UR],” Fenno said. “Gary Cox is certainly a political scientist in the Rochester tradition and in the Bill Riker tradition we’re tickled to have him here.”Bill Riker Jr., an artist in Providence, RI and the son of the late William Riker, attended the ceremony Friday and constructed the physical prize that Cox won.Chair of the Political Science Department Gerald Gamm began the ceremony. “Riker was one of the towering political scientists of the 20th century,” Gamm said. “After his death in 1993, his students, his friends, his colleagues came together to create an endowment that is now the William H. Riker prize.” “The Riker prize is awarded every two years to a social scientist in recognition of a body of research that exemplifies an investment in a scientific study of politics in the spirit of William H. Riker,” Gamm said.Political science professor James Johnson spoke following Gamm. Johnson delivered a detailed history of Cox’s educational and professional careers, mentioning Cox’s accomplishment of publishing approximately 50 articles and four books. “Three of the books have won multiple scholarly awards,” Johnson said. Cox’s 1993 book “Legislative Leviathan – Party Government in the House” won the Richard F. Fenno Jr. Prize awarded by the American Political Science Association. Johnson emphasized the uniquely wide range of topics in which Cox specializes. Johnson then invited Cox to speak, who graciously accepted the award and spoke on his work in political science. Approximately 30 community members attended the event.Sophomore Carol Faden attended the reception, which preceded the speech, and the award ceremony. “I think it is fitting that Gary Cox received the Riker Prize. He is a very accomplished and respected political scientist,” she said.Yunis can be reached at

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