Richardson, Will, Blair, Banks to Receive 32nd Annual Common Wealth Awards

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2011 Laureates Have Made Indelible Marks on Modern Culture Through Their Lifetime Accomplishments

Winners of the 2011 Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service gather for the April 16 awards ceremony, hosted by The PNC Financial Services Group in Wilmington, Delaware. Receiving a shared prize of $200,000 are (from left): political columnist George Will, author Russell Banks, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and women’s rights champion Cherie Blair. PNC is administrator of the Common Wealth Awards, which honor people who have enriched society through their work.

“The 2011 Common Wealth Award winners are people of distinction who have influenced our world through their exceptional abilities and contributions,” said PNC Delaware Regional President Connie Bond Stuart.

Four renowned leaders and achievers who have made enduring contributions to modern society tonight receive the 32nd annual Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service. These prestigious awards honor individuals who have enriched the global community through their life’s work.

The 2011 Common Wealth Award winners are:

  • Bill Richardson, 30th Governor of New Mexico, former U.S. Energy Secretary, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Congressman, for Government;
  • George Will, America’s foremost political commentator and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, for Mass Communications;
  • Cherie Blair, noted human rights lawyer and campaigner for women’s equality, for Public Service;
  • Russell Banks, internationally acclaimed novelist, poet and short story writer, for Literature.

The honorees will be recognized tonight at the Common Wealth Awards ceremony hosted by The PNC Financial Services Group at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington.

The Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service were first presented in 1979 by The Ralph Hayes Common Wealth Trust. PNC serves as trustee and administrator of the trust, which was created under the will of the late Ralph Hayes, an influential business executive and philanthropist.

In their 32-year history, the Common Wealth Awards have conferred $5 million in prize money to 177 honorees. The awards are funded by The Ralph Hayes Common Wealth Trust, with the honorees receiving a shared prize of $200,000 during the awards ceremony.

“The 2011 Common Wealth Award winners are people of distinction who have influenced our world through their exceptional abilities and contributions,” said PNC Regional President Connie Bond Stuart. “While each has traveled a different road to success, these high achievers act on a shared belief in the power of an individual to effect change and make a difference for many. We salute the Common Wealth honorees for their stellar accomplishments, and we encourage them to keep their beacons of achievement burning brightly so that new generations may follow their example.”

Ralph Hayes, creator of the Common Wealth Awards, served on the board of directors of PNC Delaware’s predecessor banks 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 are also an incentive for individuals to make future contributions to the world community.

The roster of past Common Wealth Award recipients reveals the caliber of talent and the global scope of the honorees and their achievements. Among the past winners are 11 Nobel laureates, including human rights leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former statesman Henry Kissinger and authors Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison. Other Common Wealth Award winners include former Secretary of State Colin Powell; humanitarian and school builder Greg Mortenson; H.M. Queen Noor of Jordan; dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov; Hollywood icons Sidney Poitier and Meryl Streep; astronaut Buzz Aldrin; primatologist Jane Goodall; ocean explorer Robert Ballard; television journalist Christiane Amanpour; and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee.

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. provides investment and wealth management, fiduciary services, FDIC-insured banking products and services and lending and borrowing of funds through its subsidiary, PNC Bank, National Association, which is a Member FDIC, and provides certain fiduciary and agency services through its subsidiary PNC Delaware Trust Company. PNC does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice.

Investments: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank or Federal Government Guarantee. May Lose Value.

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