Patrick Kennedy, 44, served eight terms in Congress, ending his political career last January. He heads "The Next Frontier," a campaign to raise money for brain-disorder research.
"I guess the phrase, 'We all stand on the shoulders of giants' applies to me especially," he said, referring to his father.
He stressed the importance of Harvey Gantt, for whom the award is named. Gantt is a Burke High School graduate who became the first black student at Clemson University, after a lengthy legal battle that went to the Supreme Court. After being repeatedly ignored when he asked for information on the engineering program, he finally sued the school.
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