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Six To Receive the North Carolina Award, State's Highest Honor
Six recipients next month will be honored with the 2014 North Carolina Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the state and nation in the fields of public service, fine arts, literature and science.
The 2014 honorees are Dr. Betsy M. Bennett of Raleigh and Robert A. Ingram of Durham for Public Service; Lenard D. Moore of Raleigh and Alan Shapiro of Chapel Hill for Literature; Dr. Jagdish (Jay) Narayan of Raleigh for Science; and Ira David Wood III of Raleigh for Fine Arts. The awards are administered by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
"It is an honor to pay tribute to these remarkable individuals who have made North Carolina better by their extraordinary involvement in this state," said Susan Kluttz, Secretary of the N. C. Department of Cultural Resources. "Each has enriched the lives of our citizens and propelled North Carolina onto the national and world stages."
Public Service: Dr. Betsy M. Bennett
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is Betsy Bennett's vision fulfilled -- a place where visitors of all ages don't just see science and nature displayed, they engage in it. Bennett served as the museum's director for more than 20 years, transforming it from a cramped exhibit space to a pioneering institution that has garnered national recognition. She altered the skyline of Raleigh twice, snaring dinosaurs, recruiting world-class scientists, winning over legislators and enlisting financial supporters. After the new Museum of Natural Sciences opened in 2000, she started on the Nature Research Center, which opened in 2011. The duet attracted 1.2 million tourists in 2012, making it the state's most visited attraction. Bennett is a past president of the Association of Science Museum Directors.
Public Service: Robert A. Ingram
The professional career and public service of Robert "Bob" Ingram include familiar names from the worlds of pharmaceuticals and charities. He co-led the merger that formed GlaxoSmithKline. He serves or has served on the boards or as director to Valeant, Cree, Quintiles and others. He was asked by President George H.W. Bush to form the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Institutes of Health Cancer Advisory Board. He is chairman of the Research Triangle Foundation and Glaxo Foundation. He has provided vision and compassion to more than 50 organizations and agencies.
Literature: Lenard D. Moore
Lenard D. Moore believes in the magic and the music of words. The experiences of his eastern North Carolina roots show in his poems and short stories. His economical use of words is best illustrated in the three-line haiku, which he mastered so well that he became the first Southerner and first African American to be president of the Haiku Society of America. He received the Haiku Museum of Tokyo Award and is executive chairman of the N.C. Haiku Society. He considers teaching his most important work and is a professor at the University of Mount Olive, where he organizes a literary festival and mentors young writers. He is founder of the Carolina African American Writers Collective.His essays and reviews have appeared in more than 350 publications, his poetry in over 40 anthologies.
Science: Dr. Jagdish (Jay) Narayan
Dr. Jagdish (Jay) Narayan is an innovator, leading society into the age of nanotechnology. As a professor in the Department of Material Science and Engineering at N.C. State University, he researches infinitely small nano-materials to yield more efficient use of energy, more flexible metals and stronger ceramic materials. Narayan discovered how to manipulate atoms so that molecules are directed to perform as desired. This groundbreaking research led to the LED light bulb, and his work was cited by 2014 Nobel Prize winners for physics who created blue light. He is one of five scientists alive who have received the prestigious Robert Franklin Mehl Award, Acta Materialia Gold Medal and Prize, and the ASM Gold Meda. He holds more than 40 patents, has published over 500 scientific papers and edited nine books.
Literature: Alan Shapiro
Alan Shapiro, professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is among the nation's most distinguished poets. He takes on difficult topics, including loss and grief, but also celebrates the daily lives of real people. Shapiro is the author of 12 books of poetry (including Night of the Republic, a finalist for both the National Book Award and The Griffin Prize), two memoirs (incuding The Last Happy Occasion, a finalist for the National Book Circle Critics Award in autobiography)
Fine Arts: Ira David Wood III
Over the past 40 years over a million people have witnessed David Wood's performance as the Dickens villain in A Christmas Carol at Theatre in the Park, where Wood is executive director. A graduate of The North Carolina School of the Arts, he was raised in Enfield and spent summers during his college years as a leading actor in The Lost Colony, the country's oldest outdoor drama. Wood wrote and directed the Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Olympic Festival, the state's largest single event. His original production, A Capitol Idea, was the highlight of Raleigh's Bicentennial celebration. Two of his original plays (Eros & Illinois and Requiem For a King) have had extended runs off-Broadway. His many honors include The Order of the Long Leaf Pine (State of N.C.), Distinguished Alumni Award (UNC School of the Arts) and the Builder of Bridges Award (Babcock Center Foundation). Consistently voted Best Local Actor in public opinion polls, Wood has also accumulated impressive film and television credits, having appeared with such stars as Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Neil Patrick Harris, Cliff Robertson and James Earl Jones. He is the author of A Lover's Guide To The Outer Banks and Confessions Of An Elf, and is a contributing author to Murder In Dealey Plaza: What We Know Now That We Didn't Know Then. An award-winning playwright, his original script titled Finale was recently published.
Created by the General Assembly in 1961, the North Carolina Awards (http://www.ncdcr.gov/