Claiborne de Borda Pell served as a U.S. Senator of Rhode Island for six terms from 1961 to 1997. While January 1st will mark 10 years since the Senator has passed, November 22nd will mark 100 years since he was born.
When Claiborne Pell was first elected to the United States Senate in 1960, his friend, then-Senator John F. Kennedy, described Pell as “the least electable man in America.” In fact, Pell would win six elections to the United States Senate with an average of 64% of the vote over three decades. It was in the Senate that Pell left his most enduring legacies: land-mark legislation to create the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Amtrak, and the Basic Education Opportunity Grants—known more popularly as “Pell Grants.”