Ralph Lowell Award

Ralph Lowell Award

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting recognizes outstanding contributions to public television by presenting the Ralph Lowell medal, public television's most prestigious award. Honorees have been chosen for their extraordinary efforts in public broadcasting, leadership at the national level, and education and professional development.

The Ralph Lowell Award, named after the late Boston philanthropist and banker, was created by the Lowell family in 1970 to commemorate the pioneer public broadcaster's 80th birthday. Presented by CPB on behalf of the Lowell family, the Ralph Lowell Award honors an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to public television.

Ralph Lowell was a founder of the WGBH Educational Foundation, licensee of WGBH-TV, Boston, serving as its first president from 1951 until he became chairman in the mid-1970s. He was instrumental in the formation of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television, which led to the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and the establishment of CPB. Lowell was chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Educational Television and Radio Center during its formative years.

2011

Rebecca Eaton

Executive producer of Masterpiece
» Press release

2010

Earl Blumenauer

Congressman from Oregon
» Press release

2009

David Fanning

Executive Producer and Founder of FRONTLINE
» Press release

2008

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research
» Press release

2007

Henry Becton, Jr.

Former President and General Manager of WGBH, Boston
» Press release

2006

Mary G.F. Bitterman

Veteran public television executive and chair of the PBS Board of Directors
» Press release

2005

Frederick L. DeMarco

Executive Vice President, CPB
» Press release

2004

Maynard Orme

President & CEO, Oregon Public Broadcasting

2002

Ted Stevens

U.S. Senator, Alaska
» Press release

2001

Peter S. McGhee

Vice president for national programming, WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston
» Press release

2000

David J. Brugger

Past president and chief executive officer of the Association of America's Public Television Stations (APTS)
» Press release

1999

Thad Cochran

U.S. Senator, Mississippi

Edward M. Kennedy

U.S. Senator, Massachusetts
» Press release

1998

Julia Child

Host of The French Chef and other public TV series
» Press release

1997

Jac Venza

Director of Cultural and Arts Programs, WNET/New York, and executive producer, Great Performances

1996

Elizabeth Pfohl Campbell

Former president of WETA/Washington, D.C. and vice president for community affairs
» Press release

1995

Ken Burns

Documentary filmmaker

1994

Bruce Christensen

Former PBS president

1993

Henry Hampton

President, Blackside, Inc.

1992

Chalmers H. Marquis

Former public television representative to Congress

1991

Alistair Cooke

Host and narrator, Masterpiece Theatre, WGBH

1990

Ward B. Chamberlin, Jr.

Former president and chief executive officer, WETA/FM-TV, Washington, DC

1989

Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer

Co-anchors, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour

1988

Ernest F. Hollings

U.S. Senator, South Carolina

1987

Sharon Percy Rockefeller

Former CPB board chair

1986

Barry M. Goldwater

Former U.S. Senator, Arizona

1985

David O. Ives

Vice chairman of the board of trustees and former president of WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston

1984

Lawrence K. Grossman

Former PBS president

1983

Walter H. Annenberg

Founder, The Annenberg/CPB Project

1982

Newton N. Minow

Former PBS Board chairman

1981

Fred W. Friendly

Former communications adviser, Ford Foundation

1980

Warren G. Magnuson

Former U.S. Senator, Washington

1979

James A. Fellows

Former president, National Association of Educational Broadcasters

1978

Ralph Rogers

Former PBS Board chairman

1977

John O. Pastore

Former U.S. Senator, Rhode Island

1976

James R. Killian, Jr.

Former CPB Board Chairman

1975

Fred Rogers

Creator and host, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

1974

Bill Moyers

Journalist and producer

1973

Hartford N. Gunn, Jr.

First PBS president

1972

Jonathan Rice

Former director of programming, KQED-TV

1971

Joan Ganz Cooney

Founder and president, Children's Television Workshop

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