Three achievers to receive Common Wealth awards


Elizabeth Smart

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Three individuals  will be honored for their   accomplishments with the 37th Annual Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service.

The awards recognize individuals who have enriched modern culture through their professional and personal endeavors.

The 2016 Common Wealth Award recipients are:

  • Mandy Patinkin,  Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor, for Dramatic Arts;
  •  Bob Schieffer, award-winning CBS  political broadcast journalist and author, for Mass Communications;
  • Elizabeth Smart, leading national advocate for child abduction rights and recovery, for Public Service. As a child, Smart  was the victim of an abduction in her home state of  Utah.

The honorees will be honored at a ceremony hosted by PNC Financial Services on April 16 at the Hotel du Pont.

The Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service were first presented in 1979 by The Common Wealth Trust, which was created under the will of Ralph Hayes,  a  business executive, and philanthropist.

The awards are now made by The Ralph Hayes Common Wealth Foundation, which is funded by the Common Wealth Trust. PNC Bank, National Association, serves as trustee of the Common Wealth Trust and administrator of the Ralph Hayes Common Wealth Foundation.

In the 37-year history of the Common Wealth Awards, more than $6 million has been awarded to 195 honorees.

The 2016 honorees will each receive an award of $75,000.

“The 2016 Common Wealth Award honorees have excelled in producing work of enduring value that engages, informs and inspires,” said Nicholas M. Marsini, Jr., regional president for PNC Bank, Delaware. “We applaud these high achievers for their accomplishments and unwavering commitment to excellence.”

Hayes,  the creator of the Common Wealth Awards, served on the board of directors of one of PNC’s predecessor banks in Delaware from 1935 to 1965. Through the 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 are an incentive for individuals to make future contributions to the world community.

Past winners include 11 Nobel laureates, among them, human rights leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, statesman Henry Kissinger, and authors Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison.

Other recipients include former Secretary of State Colin Powell; H.M. Queen Noor of Jordan; dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov; Hollywood icons Sidney Poitier and Meryl Streep; astronauts John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin; primatologist Jane Goodall; ocean explorer Robert Ballard; television journalists Walter Cronkite, Wolf Blizter and Jane Pauley; and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee.

Since 2000, PNC has sponsored the annual Common Wealth Awards writing contest for Delaware high school students who are inspired by the honorees. Students are asked to explain which Common Wealth Awards honoree they most want to meet and why. A winning essay is selected for each honoree. In recognition of their achievement, the students and their parents/guardian are invited to attend the Common Wealth Awards Ceremony and a pre-event reception. To date, 55 student winners representing various Delaware high schools have met the high achievers honored by the Common Wealth Awards.

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