Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., historic biographer Ron Chernow and filmmaker, cultural researcher and journalist Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will receive this year’s Common Wealth Awards.
The honorees were recognized at the Common Wealth Awards ceremony hosted by The PNC Financial Services Group Saturday, April 14, at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington.
“This year’s Common Wealth Award honorees have shaped our world in meaningful and momentous ways,” said Bruce H. Colbourn, market executive for PNC Bank, Delaware. “In recognizing these believers and achievers, we show our esteem for all the ways they have enriched and enlightened our world through their life’s work.”
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 made by The Common Wealth Trust.
In the 39-year history of the Common Wealth Awards, more than $6 million has been awarded to 201 honorees. The 2018 honorees will each receive an award of $50,000.
Ralph 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.
For almost four decades, the Common Wealth Awards have recognized heads of state, scientists and inventors, explorers, authors, performing artists and activists. 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 high achievers on the Common Wealth Awards roster 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, Bob Schieffer and Anderson Cooper; and social activists Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Betty Ford and Christopher Reeve.