Two URI alums honored nationally for enriching society
KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 20, 2000 -- Two extraordinary University of Rhode
Island alumni have found themselves to be in extraordinary company. Christiane
Amanpour and Robert D. Ballard, have been selected as 2000 Common Wealth
Award winners, along with Angelican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, American Novelist
E.L. Doctorow, and legendary dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. The Common Wealth
Awards are sponsored by PNC Financial Services Group and honor individuals
who represent extraordinary talent and human spirit who have enriched society
in exceptional ways.
"Christiane Amanpour and Robert Ballard have truly sought excellence
and success in their fields and are well deserving of this honor. This award
is a wonderful representation of the difference they have made in the lives
of others, and is a reflection of the important contributions made to society
by URI alumni," said Robert Beagle, URI's vice president of University
Advancement. "Any institution would be proud to have two alumni honored
among the five recipients," he added.
Christiane Amanpour, '83, received the Common Wealth Award for
Mass Communications. She is CNN's chief international correspondent and
is renowned for her reporting from most of the major war zones of the 1990's,
including Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Rwanda, Algeria and Zaire. During
the Persian Gulf War she was called CNN's "Voice of Baghdad,"
and she also earned wide acclaim for her impassioned accounts of Bosnia's
brutal ethnic cleansing. Amanpour has received many prestigious awards in
journalism such as the Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards and the Alfred
I. du Pont-Columbia University Silver Baton. She also serves as contribution
correspondent to 60 Minutes. Amanpour received her undergraduate
degree in journalism from the University of Rhode Island in 1983 and was
awarded an honorary degree from URI in 1995.
Robert Ballard, '75, is awarded the Common Wealth Award for Science
and Invention. Ballard is an oceanographer, explorer, author and educator.
At the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Ballard pioneered deep ocean
research with manned and remote-controlled submersible craft. In the last
30 years, he has led or taken part in more than 100 deep-sea expeditions.
His famous discoveries include hydrothermal vents, or hot springs, deep
in ocean waters, and fabled shipwrecks, such as the luxury liner, Titanic,
and the German battleship, Bismarck. Ballard is the founder and president
of the Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Conn., and is also the founder
of the JASON Foundation for Education, which takes hundreds of thousands
of young students on a virtual discovery expeditions worldwide. Ballard
has also authored 15 books, including two bestsellers and has produced more
than six Emmy award-winning television documentaries. He has received many
honors and awards including National Geographic's Hubbard Medal. Ballard
received his Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics from the University
of Rhode Island in 1975 and also was awarded an honorary degree from the
University in 1986.
The Common Wealth Awards were created in 1979 to reward and encourage
the greatest minds and talents of the modern world, and to date, the awards
have bestowed nearly $2 million on 126 honorees worldwide. The awards are
presented in the fields of mass communications, public service, dramatic
arts, science and invention, literature, government, and sociology. Past
Common Wealth honorees include statesman Henry Kissinger; author and Nobel
laureate, Toni Morrison; acclaimed television journalist, Walter Cronkite;
and father of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk.
For Information: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-2116