Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service

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Common Wealth Award
Awarded for Outstanding achievement(s) in dramatic arts, literature, science, invention, mass communications, public service, government, and sociology.
Country  United States
Presented by PNC Bank
First awarded 1979

The Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service (or Common Wealth Awards) were created under the will of the late Ralph Hayes, an influential American business executive and philanthropist. Hayes conceived the awards to reward and encourage the best of human performance worldwide. Hayes served on the board of directors of PNC Bank, Delaware's predecessor banks from 1935 to 1965. Through the Common Wealth Awards, he sought to recognize outstanding achievement in eight disciplines: dramatic arts, literature, science, invention, mass communications, public service, government and sociology. The awards also provide an incentive for people to make future contributions to the world community.

Ralph Hayes[edit]

Demonstrating unusual academic ability in his youth, Ralph Hayes developed into a gifted executive whose career would take him to the Office of the United States Secretary of War in Washington, D.C., into the motion picture industry, publishing and banking and to the top echelons of the Coca-Cola Company. For 35 years, he was a Coca-Cola executive, serving as secretary-treasurer, vice president, and as a director of Coca-Cola International. He served on the board of directors of the Bank of Delaware (now PNC Bank) from 1943 to 1965, having previously served as a Director of its predecessor, The Equitable Trust Company, from 1935 to 1943. Hayes also had a long and distinguished career of public service. He was a chairman of the James Foundation, president of Community Funds, Inc., and a longtime director of the New York Community Trust. Service to his fellow man was always uppermost in Ralph Hayes' mind. He died in 1977 at the age of 82, leaving the Common Wealth Awards as but one part of his charitable legacy.[1]

Prize and ceremony[edit]

Each recipient of the Common Wealth Award receives a $50,000 prize. It is presented at an annual, invitation-only, black-tie dinner hosted at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware.

In their 32-year history, the Common Wealth Awards have conferred $5 million in prize money to 177 honorees of international renown. The awards are funded by the Common Wealth Trust.

Common Wealth Award Writing Contest[edit]

Since 2000, more than twenty lucky Delaware high school students have met and talked to the winning world leaders through the Common Wealth Award Writing Contest. Four winners of the writing contest and their parents or guardians are invited each year to the Common Wealth Awards ceremony, where the honorees are recognized for their lifetime achievement. As time allows, students are often able to talk directly with the winners.

Contest winners are publicly acknowledged at the Common Wealth Awards ceremony and receive a framed picture of themselves taken with the honorees. The winners for 2011 were John Fairchild, a senior at Wilmington Friends School; Lisa Jacques, a junior at St. Andrew's School; Faith Lyons, a junior at Tower Hill School; and Brianne Sands, a junior at Cab Calloway School of the Arts.[2]

List of honorees[edit]

Year Honoree Discipline Claim to Fame
1979 Laurence, Lord Olivier
 United Kingdom
Dramatic Arts British actor and founding director of the British National Theatre.
Joseph Papp
 United States
Dramatic Arts Influential American theatrical director and producer.
Jay W. Forrester
 United States
Science & Invention Prominent scientist who made outstanding contributions to digital computer technology.
Charles J. Plank
 India
Science & Invention Chemist and inventor credited with inventing the first commercially applicable apparatus for the breaking of hydrocarbons.
Edward J. Rosinski
 United States
Science & Invention Chemical engineer and inventor credited with making significant breakthroughs in the technology of hydrocarbon conversions.
Kingsley Davis
 United States
Sociology American sociologist and demographer who coined the terms population explosion and zero population growth.
Robert Merton
 United States
Sociology Influential sociologist recognized for coining terms such as, self-fulfilling prophecy and role models.
1980 Peter Brook
 United Kingdom
Dramatic Arts
Agnes de Mille
 United States
Dramatic Arts Famed American dancer and choreographer.
Gabriel García Márquez
 Colombia
Literature Nobel Prize-winning author and a pioneer of the Latin American Boom.
Robert Penn Warren
 United States
Literature American poet, novelist, and literary critic; cofounder of New Criticism.
Clair McCollough
 United States
Mass Communications Radio and television executive, as well as longtime officer of the National Association of Broadcasters
Lowell Thomas
 United States
Mass Communications American writer, broadcaster, and traveler, best known for the creation of Lawrence of Arabia.
James Hillier
 Canada
Science & Invention Physicist and inventor who assisted in the development of an early, commercially successful electron microscope for RCA.
Lewis H. Sarett
 United States
Science & Invention
James Coleman
 United States
Sociology
Otis Duncan
 United States
Sociology One of the most influential sociologists in history, instrumental in transforming mainstream American sociology.
1981 Harold Pinter
 United Kingdom
Dramatic Arts
Tennessee Williams
 United States
Dramatic Arts Major American playwright of the twentieth century.
Nadine Gordimer
 South Africa
Literature
Milan Kundera
 Czech Republic
Literature
Walter Cronkite
 United States
Mass Communications
Julian Goodman
 United States
Mass Communications
Howard S. Becker
 United States
Sociology
Peter Blau
 Austria
Sociology
1982 Harold Prince
 United States
Dramatic Arts Award-winning producer and director; co-artistic director of the New Phoenix Repertory Company.
Wright Morris
 United States
Literature American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and photographer.
Vincent Wasileski
 United States
Mass Communications President of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
Bell Laboratories
 United States
Science & Invention Credited with the discovery of the Fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE).
Charles Tilly
 United States
Sociology
1983 Hume Cronyn
 Canada (d.  United States)
Dramatic Arts
Jessica Tandy
 United Kingdom
Dramatic Arts
Jeane J. Kirkpatrick
 United States
Government
Christopher Isherwood
 United Kingdom
Literature
César Milstein
 Argentina
Science & Invention
Kenneth Lane Thompson
 United States
Science & Invention
William Sewell
 United States
Sociology
1984 Athol Fugard
 South Africa
Dramatic Arts
Stephen Sondheim
 United States
Dramatic Arts Award-winning stage musical and film composer & lyricist.
Eudora Welty
 United States
Literature
Robert Phelan Langlands
 Canada
Science & Invention
Joseph Rubinfeld
 United States
Invention Instrumental in licensing the original anticancer line of products for Bristol-Meyers, as well as development of amoxicillin.
Matilda White Riley
 United States
Sociology Renowned sociologist and Daniel B. Fayerweather Professor of Political Economy and Sociology Emerita.
1985 Zelda Fichandler
 United States
Dramatic Arts Famed cofounder and producing director of the Arena Stage in Washington.
Max Frisch
  Switzerland
Literature
Candy Lightner
 United States
Public Service The organizer and founding president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Alain Aspect
 France
Science & Invention
Delft Hydraulics Laboratory
 Netherlands
Science & Invention
Peter H. Rossi
 United States
Sociology Prominent sociologist, best known for documenting homelessness in the 1980s.
1986 Samuel Beckett
 Ireland
Dramatic Arts
John Ashbery
 United States
Literature Award-winning American poet.
Norman Cousins
 United States
Mass Communications
Leon H. Sullivan
 United States
Public Service
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
 United States
Science & Invention NASA research center which specializes in building and operating unmanned spacecraft.
Kenneth H. Olsen
 United States
Science & Invention American engineer who co-founded Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1957 with a colleague.
John A. Clausen
 United States
Sociology
1987-88 Lloyd Richards
 United States (b.  Canada)
Dramatic Arts
Andrei Voznesensky
 Russia
Literature
Gordon Parks
 United States
Mass Communications Famed American photographer, pianist, film director, and novelist.
N.T. Pete Shields
 United States
Public Service Cofounder of Handgun Control, a Washington, D.C.-based citizens' gun control lobbying organization
John B. MacChesney
 United States
Science & Invention Best known for key inventions in the commercial manufacture of optical fiber.
Robin M. Williams, Jr.
 United States
Sociology
1989 Jennifer Tipton
 United States
Dramatic Arts Award-winning American lighting designer.
George P. Shultz
 United States
Government Former Secretary of Labor, Secretary of the Treasury, and head of the Office of Management and Budget.
Toni Morrison
 United States
Literature Nobel Prize-winning author, editor, and professor.
David Brinkley
 United States
Mass Communications Emmy nominated television newscaster and host of This Week with David Brinkley from 1982-1997.
Leroy E. Hood
 United States
Science & Invention American biologist who helped to decode the human genome.
Alice S. Rossi
 United States
Sociology Cofounder of the National Organization for Women; 74th president of the American Sociological Association.
1990 Jerome Robbins
 United States
Dramatic Arts Academy Award-winning film director and choreographer.
Aharon Appelfeld
 Israel (b.  Romania)
Literature One of Israel's foremost living Hebrew-language authors.
David Broder
 United States
Mass Communications Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, talk show pundit, and university professor.
Jaime Escalante
 Bolivia
Public Service
J.C.R. Licklider
 United States
Science & Invention Renowned for his work on the human-computer dialogue, time sharing, virtual memory, and resource sharing.
Mirra Komarovsky
 Russia
Sociology
1991 James Earl Jones
 United States
Dramatic Arts
Paul A. Volcker
 United States
Government Former chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Adrienne Rich
 United States
Literature
Sebastião Salgado
 Brazil
Mass Communications Respected photojournalist and Special Representative for UNICEF.
Roger N. Beachy
 United States
Science & Invention American biologist and founder of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
Nathan Keyfitz
 Canada
Sociology Responsible for important work regarding formal demography and population projections.
1992 Arthur Miller
 United States
Dramatic Arts
Warren E. Burger
 United States
Government
James A. Michener
 United States
Literature
Ted Turner
 United States
Mass Communications American media mogul and philanthropist.
Susan Solomon
 United States
Science & Invention Demonstrated the first conclusive link between manmade CFCs and the ozone holes above Antarctica.
1993 Julie Harris
 United States
Dramatic Arts Three-time Emmy Award-winning and five-time Tony Award-winning actress of stage, screen, and television.
John Updike
 United States
Literature Prominent American novelist, poet, short story writer, and literary critic.
Jim Lehrer
 United States
Mass Communications American journalist and anchor for The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS.
Jonas Salk
 United States
Public Service World-renowned for his development of the polio vaccine.
Charles H. Townes
 United States
Science & Invention Accomplishments range from helping ease the strain of everyday life to studying the origin of the universe.
1994 August Wilson
 United States
Dramatic Arts Prominent African-American playwright.
Henry A. Kissinger
 United States
Government Former Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; founder of Kissinger Associates.
Larry King
 United States
Mass Communications Award-winning television and radio broadcaster; host of CNN's Larry King Live.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau
 France
Public Service Explorer, ecologist, scientist, photographer, and researcher who invented SCUBA and pioneered unaided deep sea diving.
Leland H. Hartwell
 United States
Science & Invention Widely recognized pioneer in the field of yeastgenetics and cancer research.
1995 Jane Alexander
 United States
Dramatic Arts Award-winning actress, author, and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts.
William Styron
 United States
Literature Novelist who explored difficult historical and moral questions.
Charles Kuralt
 United States
Mass Communications Award-winning American journalist, best known for his long career with CBS.
James & Sarah Brady
 United States
Public Service Influential members of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Karen Uhlenbeck
 United States
Science & Invention Helped in the understanding of the fundamental properties of matter in the universe.
1996 Jason Robards
 United States
Dramatic Arts Award-winning film and television actor.
Derek Walcott
 Saint Lucia
Literature Nobel Prize-winning poet, playwright, writer, visual artist, and theatre & art critic.
Ken Burns
 United States
Mass Communications Award-winning documentary filmmaker.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
 United States
Public Service Founder of the Special Olympics.
Andrew Wiles
 United Kingdom
Science & Invention Solved Fermat's Last Theorem, an equation that had perplexed mathematicians for centuries.
1997 Seamus Heaney
 Ireland
Literature Nobel Prize-winning poet, writer, and lecturer.
Michael E. DeBakey
 United States
Science & Invention Internationally recognized pioneer in the field of cardiovascular research and surgery.
Jane Goodall
 United Kingdom
Public Service World-renowned for her 45-year study of chimpanzee social and family life.
Edward Albee
 United States
Dramatic Arts Pulitzer Prize-winning contemporary American playwright.
James H. Clark
 United States
Mass Communications Prolific entrepreneur and former computer scientist; cofounder of Netscape Communications Corporation.
1998 Christopher Plummer
 Canada
Dramatic Arts Actor of stage, screen, and television during his five-decade career.
Saul Bellow
 United States (b.  Canada)
Literature Nobel Prize-winning novelist.
Bill Moyers
 United States
Mass Communications Veteran journalist who worked for both CBS and PBS during his nearly four-decade career.
Betty Ford
 United States
Public Service Founder of the Betty Ford Center, a drug and alcohol dependency treatment center located in Rancho Mirage, CA.
Stephanie Kwolek
 United States
Science & Invention Was responsible for the creation and discovery of Kevlar during her time at the DuPont Company.
1999 Dr. Louis Miller
 United States
Science & Invention Biologist who has made vast contributions to malaria research and other widespread tropical diseases.
John Irving
 United States
Literature Bestselling American novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter.
Robert MacNeil
 Canada
Mass Communications Former television news anchor and journalist of The MacNeil/Lehrer Report.
Lawrence Eagleburger
 United States
Government Former Secretary of State and diplomat.
Julie Taymor
 United States
Dramatic Arts American director of Broadway theatre and film.
2000 Desmond Tutu
 South Africa
Public Service Anglican archbishop, international human rights leader, and 1984 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
E. L. Doctorow
 United States
Literature Foremost American novelist acclaimed for his lyrical, breakthrough fiction.
Christiane Amanpour
 United Kingdom
Mass Communications CNN chief foreign correspondent and influential reporter of global crises.
Robert Ballard
 United States
Science & Invention Marine scientist, pioneer of deep ocean exploration, and undersea archaeologist.
Mikhail Baryshnikov
 Russia
Dramatic Arts Legendary dancer and icon of classical ballet and modern dance.
2001 Morgan Freeman
 United States
Dramatic Arts Veteran actor acclaimed for his classic, commanding roles on stage, screen, and television.
J. Craig Venter
 United States
Science & Invention Biochemist, entrepreneur, and gene pioneer who succeeded in unlocking the human genetic code.
James Nachtwey
 United States
Mass Communications Renowned photojournalist who has chronicled the human anguish of war, genocide, and famine worldwide.
Philip Roth
 United States
Literature Pulitzer Prize winner regarded as a literary giant among America's postwar generation of writers.
Dr. William Magee & Kathleen Magee
 United States
Public Service Founders of Operation Smile, which aids children with facial deformities around the world.
2002 Julie Andrews
 United Kingdom
Dramatic Arts World-renowned performer whose stardom spans movies, theater, television, and concert hall.
Carlos Fuentes
 Mexico
Literature Preeminent writer of fiction and political commentary, and a leading cultural force in modern Latin America.
Lonnie Thompson & Ellen Mosley-Thompson
 United States
Science & Invention Researchers who have tracked Earth's ancient climate history and global warming.
George Mitchell
 United States
Government Former U.S. Senate majority leader and peace mediator for Northern Ireland and the Middle East.
Fred Rogers
 United States
Mass Communications Children's television icon; creator and host of the critically acclaimed Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
2003 Sam Donaldson
 United States
Mass Communications Veteran television journalist and former chief White House correspondent for ABC News.
Bob Dole
 United States
Government Former U.S. Senate majority leader and influential voice of the Republican Party.
Susan Stroman
 United States
Dramatic Arts Broadway's most celebrated director-choreographer.
Joyce Carol Oates
 United States
Literature One of America's most significant and inventive contemporary writers.
Dean Kamen
 United States
Science & Invention Renowned inventor of breakthrough medical and transportation devices.
2004 Christopher Reeve
 United States
Public Service Renowned actor and America's leading advocate for people with paralysis and other disabilities.
Meryl Streep
 United States
Dramatic Arts Legendary actress and Hollywood icon, considered the greatest film star of her generation.
Stanley Prusiner, M.D.
 United States
Science & Invention Pioneering researcher and Nobel Prize-winner who discovered the deadly protein linked to mad-cow disease.
Isabel Allende
 Chile
Literature The most widely read and renowned Latin American woman writer in the world.
Andrea Mitchell
 United States
Mass Communications Leading broadcast journalist and chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News.
2005 Gen. Colin L. Powell
 United States
Government Former Secretary of State and respected leader, diplomat, and soldier.
David Mamet
 United States
Dramatic Arts Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Hollywood screenwriter, and preeminent dramatist.
Tim Berners-Lee
 United Kingdom
Mass Communications Visionary inventor of the World Wide Web and director of the World Wide Web consortium.
Amy Tan
 United States
Literature Best-selling novelist whose stories explore family ties, heritage, and the Asian-American experience.
Kip Thorne
 United States
Science & Invention Foremost American researcher of black holes and gravitational waves.
2006 John Glenn
 United States
Government Former U.S. Senator, astronaut, and heroic pioneer of American space exploration.
HM Queen Noor of Jordan
 Jordan
Public Service A leading voice for global peace-building, human rights, and conflict recovery issues.
Mike Nichols
 United States
Dramatic Arts Preeminent and award-winning director of stage and screen.
Rita Dove
 United States
Literature Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and two-term Poet Laureate of the United States.
Anderson Cooper
 United States
Mass Communications Leading broadcast journalist and CNN news anchor of Anderson Cooper 360°.
2007 Sidney Poitier
 United States
Dramatic Arts Academy Award-winning actor and cinematic trailblazer.
Aleksander Kwaśniewski
 Poland
Government Former two-term president of the Republic of Poland; cofounder of the Social Democratic Party.
Cokie Roberts
 United States
Mass Communications Veteran broadcast journalist; best-selling author; political analyst for ABC News; and NPR senior news analyst.
Ian McEwan
 United Kingdom
Literature Acclaimed and award-winning British novelist, short-story, and screen writer.
2008 Glenn Close
 United States
Dramatic Arts Celebrated actress of stage, screen, and television.
John Howard
 Australia
Government Four-term prime minister of Australia.
Ann Curry
 United States (b.  Guam)
Mass Communications News anchor of NBC's Today; coanchor of Dateline NBC.
James E. Hansen
 United States
Science Preeminent climate scientist; director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
2009 Buzz Aldren
 United States
Science Astronaut and lunar explorer.
Doris Kearns Goodwin
 United States
Mass Communications Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
Don DeLillo
 United States
Literature Author, playwright and occasional essayist whose work paints a detailed portrait of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Kevin Spacey
 United States
Dramatic Arts Academy Award-winning actor and artistic director of London's Old Vic Theatre Company.
2010 Annie Leibovitz
 United States
Mass Communications Legendary portrait photographer responsible for some of the most iconic images of the last four decades.
Laura Linney
 United States
Dramatic Arts Award-winning actress of stage, film, and theatre. Best known for her roles in Love Actually and HBO miniseries "John Adams."
Greg Mortenson
 United States
Public Service Humanitarian, writer. Co-founder of the Central Asia Institute and founder of the charity Pennies for Peace.
Salman Rushdie
 India
Literature Booker Prize-winning novelist and essayist. Played a major role in the development of Indian English literature.
2011 Russell Banks
 United States
Literature Internationally acclaimed novelist, poet, and short story writer.
Cherie Blair
 United Kingdom
Public Service Noted human rights lawyer and women's rights activist.
Bill Richardson
 United States
Government Thirtieth Governor of New Mexico, former U.S. Energy Secretary, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Congressman.
George Will
 United States
Mass Communications America's foremost political commentator and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist.
2012[3] Wolf Blitzer
 United States
Mass Communications
Madeleine Albright
 United States
Government
Kenneth Cole
 United States
Public Service
Judith Jamison
 United States
Dramatic Arts
2013[4] Alan Alda
 United States
Dramatic Arts
David McCullough
 United States
Literature
Jane Pauley
 United States
Mass Communications
Martin Sheen
 United States
Public Service

References[edit]