Inspired to Lead: The Mitch McConnell Story claimed a silver Telly in the history-biography category and a bronze Telly in the education category. In the 12-minute film, McConnell takes visitors behind the scenes in the U.S. Capitol to learn about the Senate’s history and offers a glimpse into his own experiences in public service.

Promise of America: The Elaine Chao Story won silver and bronze Telly Awards in the education and history-biography categories, respectively. The 10-minute film traces the life and career of Chao, who immigrated from China as a girl and went on to serve as U.S. labor secretary for President George W. Bush.

We knew the films were good, but it’s great to have that confirmed by winning four of these important prizes, said Gary Gregg, director of UofL’s McConnell Center.

The Telly Awards drew more than 13,000 entries last year from ad agencies, production companies, television stations and corporations. Winners receive a statuette made by the same company that produces the Oscar and Emmy awards. Silver is the highest honor, followed by bronze.

Solid Light, a museum and exhibit design firm in Louisville that designed the McConnell-Chao archives and gallery, produced both films.

We were fortunate to be able to work in such an historic venue, and it didn’t hurt that the cherry blossoms (in Washington) were opening right as we were making the film, said Cynthia Torp, president of Solid Light of the McConnell project.

The McConnell-Chao archives and gallery in UofL’s Ekstrom Library opened in November. The 2,000-square-foot gallery section, filled with exhibits, films and interactive displays about U.S. government, history and politics, is free and open to the public.

McConnell, GOP Senate leader and Kentucky’s longest-serving senator, is a UofL graduate. In 1991, he founded the university’s McConnell Center, a non-partisan academic program that prepares students to become future leaders.

Chao is the first Asian-American woman appointed to the cabinet of a U.S. president.