Claiborne Pell died today at the age of 90. Serving in the U.S. Senate from Rhode Island for 36 years, his most famous contribution was the creation of Pell Grants. He was also the main sponsor of the bill that created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Oft praised for his non-controversial style, he was known to have said “I always try to let the other guy have my way.”

As a Newport blueblood, he nonetheless had broad support of RI blue-collar workers. I also enjoyed reading another quote from him (via bluebirdsinging and CNN) today:

“The strength of the United States is not the gold at Fort Knox or the weapons of mass destruction that we have, but the sum total of the education and the character of our people.”

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