2015 Silent Sentinel Award
Margaret “Peggy” Milner Richardson was the 2015 recipient of the Silent Sentinel Award from the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association (TPSM), a charitable organization raising funds to build a national suffragist memorial in Fairfax County. The award honors a woman who embodies the traits of the suffragists who fought for a woman’s right to vote.
Richardson graduated from Vassar with a degree in political science and received her JD with honors from The George Washington University Law School, where she was an editor of the Law Review.
Richardson is a trailblazer: the first woman with executive rank in the Office of the Chief Counsel of the IRS and later the IRS commissioner. As commissioner, she championed improved tax administration and better taxpayer service. During her tenure, she made it easier to obtain information, file returns and make tax payments. She accomplished that by working with state and local officials, a strategy used by suffragists working to win ratification of the 19th Amendment.
A member of the International Women’s Forum, Richardson is a proven leader in support to women, serving on a variety of boards. They include the boards of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Women’s Campaign Fund, the Eurasia Foundation, the Piedmont Environmental Council, and the National Cathedral for Girls. She was named Woman of the Year, 1992-1993, by the Women’s Financial Association and is the recipient of Distinguished Service Awards from the Federal Bar Association and the Tax Executives Institute.
“There is no better way for us to honor the memory of the people who worked so hard to give us the right to vote than to make sure that each and every one of us votes whenever we have that opportunity, and to encourage other women to do the same. And also to see that this memorial is built, and built as soon as possible, certainly by the time of the anniversary (in 2020),” Richardson said upon receiving the award. It was presented to Richardson by former television journalist Rebecca Cooper, Executive-in-Residence and Special Assistant to the Dean of the Kogod School of Business at American University
Speakers at the event included Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, Curator of the Virginia Capitol and Executive Director of the Capitol Square Preservation Council, who is also a presidential appointee to the National Endowment for the Humanities, and honored by the Piedmont Environmental Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Also present was Edith Mayo, Curator Emeritus in Political History at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The Mistress of Ceremonies was Jan Fox, Emmy-winning journalist and public speaking professional as president of Fox Talks, LLC.