Architect of the Pell Grant Dies at 90

Claiborne Pell, Senator of 36 year and best known for championing better education for the poor, died Thursday.

Pell served as a Democratic senator from Rhode Island from 1961 to 1997. He was the architect of a grant program that bears his name and has helped tens of millions of Americas attend college.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden, who served in the Senate with Pell, called him “one of our nation’s most important voices in foreign policy for over 30 years.”

“Claiborne Pell was a man of extraordinary integrity, grace and decency,” Biden said in a statement.

“Because of Senator Pell and the Pell Grant, the doors of college have been opened to millions of Americans — and will continue to be opened to millions more. That is a legacy that will live on for generations to come.”

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