Spacey, Goodwin, Aldrin, DeLillo to receive 30th Annual Common Wealth Awards

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Four renowned leaders and achievers who have made important contributions to modern culture tonight receive The Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service in recognition of their work. This year's presentation marks the 30th anniversary of these prestigious international awards, which seek to honor those who have advanced and enriched the world community through their exceptional lifetime accomplishments. The 2009 Common Wealth Award winners are Kevin Spacey, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Col. Buzz Aldrin, USAF (Ret.), Sc.D., and Don DeLillo.

The 2009 Common Wealth Award winners represent the spectrum of human endeavor and the pinnacle of intellectual and artistic achievement

Four renowned leaders and achievers who have made important contributions to modern culture tonight receive The Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service in recognition of their work. This year's presentation marks the 30th anniversary of these prestigious international awards, which seek to honor those who have advanced and enriched the world community through their exceptional lifetime accomplishments.

The 2009 Common Wealth Award winners are:

  • Kevin Spacey, Academy Award-winning actor and artistic director of London's Old Vic Theatre Company, for Dramatic Arts;
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, for Mass Communications;
  • Col. Buzz Aldrin, USAF (Ret.), Sc.D., legendary astronaut and lunar explorer, for Science;
  • Don DeLillo, preeminent American novelist and a leading figure of postmodern literature, for Literature.

The honorees will be recognized at the Common Wealth Awards ceremony hosted by PNC Bank, Delaware, tonight at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington.

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

In their 30-year history, the Common Wealth Awards have conferred $4.6 million in prize money to 169 honorees of international distinction. The awards are funded by the Common Wealth Trust, with the honorees receiving a shared prize of $200,000 during the ceremony.

PNC Bank, Delaware has been trustee and administrator for the Common Wealth Awards since their inception. PNC Bank, Delaware is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC).

"The 2009 Common Wealth Award winners represent the spectrum of human endeavor and the pinnacle of intellectual and artistic achievement," said Connie Bond Stuart, president of PNC Bank, Delaware. "Their contributions stand as a legacy of leadership and knowledge that will inspire the dreams and deeds of generations to follow. As steward of the Common Wealth Trust, PNC is proud to commemorate the 30th anniversary of this esteemed tradition as we salute this year's distinguished honorees."

Ralph Hayes, creator of the Common Wealth Awards, served on the board of directors of PNC Bank, 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 also provide an incentive for people to make future contributions to the world community.

The roster of past Common Wealth Award honorees reveals the caliber of talent and the global scope of the awardees 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 winners include former Secretary of State Colin Powell; children's television icon, the late Fred Rogers; H.M. Queen Noor of Jordan; stage and screen stars Sidney Poitier and Meryl Streep; astronaut John Glenn; primatologist Jane Goodall; ocean explorer Robert Ballard; television journalists Walter Cronkite and Cokie Roberts; and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee.

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