The Elsie Awards are presented by WQED Multimedia and community leader and philanthropist Elsie Hillman to honor people whose life's work has demonstrated love of community, compassion for others and using communication to have a positive impact on society. Elsie is a WQED past chairperson, Trustee Emeritus and long-time supporter, along with her husband Henry.
in 1996, the initial Elsie Award honored Elsie Hillman for her long-time
commitment to WQED and this community. Since then, the awards
have continued to honor and recognize the heroes of our society. Proceeds
from the event benefit children’s programming on WQED tv13.
The 2004 Elsie Awards Recipients:
Joan Ganz Cooney is the founder and chair of the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW), which has given the world Sesame Street, The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact and Ghostwriter as well as many other series. Cooney and her organization have had a profound affect on small screen programming aimed at children.
Drue Heinz is the philanthropist whose many gifts to the community include the Heinz Architectural Center and Drue Heinz Lecture series.
Rob Marshall grew up in Pittsburgh, is a Carnegie Mellon University alumnus and the director of the Oscar-winning film “Chicago.” He is renowned for his brilliant choreography for stage, screen and television.
Joe Negri is Pittsburgh’s own beloved jazz guitarist and distinguished composer. A musical prodigy at age four, Negri was touring nationally by age sixteen. He served as music director at WTAE TV for more than 20 years and appeared as Handyman Negri for thirty plus years on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Tom Ridge is the current Secretary of the Office of Homeland Security and former Governor of Pennsylvania. As Homeland Security Secretary, Ridge develops and coordinates a comprehensive national strategy to strengthen protections against terrorist threats or attacks in the United States.
John Wideman is a renowned writer and former Homewood resident. Wideman is the only writer to have been awarded the PEN/Faulkner Awards for Fiction twice and the second African American to win a Rhodes scholarship.
April 1 also marks
the start of WQED Multimedia’s 50th anniversary
year. WQED was the first community supported public television station
in the country. The Elsie Awards kick off a yearlong celebration of WQED’s
50 years of service to the community.
2000: Victor Borge
2002: Barbara Bush
Originating in 1996, the initial Elsie Award honored Elsie Hillman for her long-time commitment to WQED Multimedia and this community. The other Elsie Awards were presented to Pittsburgh area leaders in three categories: community, compassion and communications. Awards were given to: Tom and Marilyn Donnelly for love of family; Jim and Suzy Broadhurst for love of community; and Johnny Costa for love of public broadcasting. Both the Donnellys and the Broadhursts are active volunteers for many non-profit institutions as well as generous philanthropists to even more worthy concerns both locally and nationally. Johnny Costa had been the musical director for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for 3 decades beginning in 1967 and helped Fred Rogers to realize his vision of utilizing music as an important teaching tool.
Subsequent Elsie Awards honor people in our community who have made a difference in the Elsie style of family, community...and having fun!
The 1998 Elsie Awards were presented to Dan and Pat Rooney, owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and their family for their sense of community, Frieda Shapira, long-time volunteer in countless causes and charities and her family for years of compassionate service and to Bill Burns, Pittsburgh broadcasting pioneer and his daughter Patti for excellence in communications.
In 2000, the Elsie Awards were presented to Michael Keaton, a native Pittsburgher who began his illustrious career as a member of the crew at WQED Multimedia; Mrs. Rachel Mellon Walton, the 101-year-old matriarch of the Mellon family, who has spent her life caring for her family and her beloved Pittsburgh; and Sir Victor Borge, the “Great Dane” who has delighted audiences all over the world with his amusing routines at the piano.
The 2002 Elsie Awards were presented to Former First Lady Barbara Bush and WQED’s own Fred Rogers for their tireless efforts on behalf of children and for improving the quality of life for us all.
The 2004 Elsie Awards will honor Joan Ganz Cooney, Drue Heinz, Rob Marshall, Joe Negri, Tom Ridge, and John Wideman.
The proceeds from the Elsie Awards benefit children’s programming on WQED Multimedia.
A number of corporations and individuals sponsor the evening in several levels of giving.
The mission of WQED Multimedia is to provide educational, cultural and informational products and services that enhance and engage the community.
The goal of the event is to honor those persons who best reflect the
quality of compassion as they support their community and public television.
For additional information, please e-mail: email@example.com
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