Annual Common Wealth Awards Celebrate 40 Years, Honor Diane Keaton, Peggy Noonan and Captain Sully Sullenberger
2019 Recipients recognized for lasting contributions to modern culture

WILMINGTON, Del., April 13, 2019 – Now celebrating its 40th year, the annual Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service celebrated three renowned achievers for their lifetime accomplishments in equally distinguished fashion this evening. The awards recognize individuals who have enriched modern culture through their professional and personal endeavors. 

The 2019 Common Wealth Award recipients are:

  • Diane Keaton, Academy Award-winning and Tony nominated actor, film director, for Dramatic Arts;

  • Peggy Noonan, presidential speechwriter, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, for Mass Communications;

  • Captain Sully Sullenberger, American hero, safety expert, and author for Public Service

The honorees were recognized at the Common Wealth Awards ceremony hosted by The PNC Financial Services Group at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington. 

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

In the 40-year history of the Common Wealth Awards, more than $6 million has been awarded to 204 honorees. 

“During a year in which we celebrate a milestone in the history of Common Wealth Awards, it is especially fitting that the fortieth anniversary honoree class features some of the most accomplished and admired men and women in their respective fields,” said Bruce H. Colbourn, market executive of PNC Bank in Delaware. “We applaud these high achievers for their accomplishments and unwavering commitment to excellence.” 

Since 2000, PNC has sponsored the annual Common Wealth Awards writing contest for Delaware high school students who are inspired by the honorees. Students were asked to explain which Common Wealth Awards honoree they most want to meet and why. A winning essay is selected for each honoree. In recognition of their achievement, the students and their parents/guardian were invited to attend the Common Wealth Awards Ceremony and a pre-event reception. To date, 64 student winners representing various Delaware high schools have met the high achievers honored by the Common Wealth Awards.

For four decades, the Common Wealth Awards have recognized heads of state, scientists and inventors, explorers, authors, performing artists and activists. Past winners include 11 Nobel laureates, among them, human rights leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, statesman Henry Kissinger and authors Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison. Other high achievers on the Common Wealth Awards roster include former Secretary of State Colin Powell; H.M. Queen Noor of Jordan; dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov; Hollywood icons Sidney Poitier and Meryl Streep; astronauts John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin; primatologist Jane Goodall; ocean explorer Robert Ballard; television journalists Walter Cronkite, Bob Schieffer and Anderson Cooper; and social activists Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Betty Ford and Christopher Reeves. 

Ralph Hayes, creator of the Common Wealth Awards, served on the board of directors of one of PNC’s predecessor banks in Delaware 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 are an incentive for individuals to make future contributions to the world community.

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”) uses the names PNC Wealth Management®, Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth® and PNC Institutional Asset ManagementSM  to provide investment and wealth management, fiduciary services, FDIC-insured banking products and services and lending of funds through its subsidiary, PNC Bank, National Association, which is a Member FDIC, and uses the names PNC Wealth Management® and Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth® to provide certain fiduciary and agency services through its subsidiary, PNC Delaware Trust Company. PNC does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice.

"PNC Wealth Management," "Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth" and "PNC Institutional Asset Management" are registered trademarks or service marks of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Investments: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value.



Diane Keaton has had a very versatile career including roles in theater, film and television, and is a published author. 

After high school, Keaton moved to New York City. Her talent was quickly noticed and she was cast in the original Broadway run of Hair in 1968. As understudy to the lead, she gained attention by not removing any of her clothing. Shortly after, Keaton was cast in the Broadway play Play It Again, Sam, which earned her a Tony Nomination.

Soon after her Tony nomination, Keaton made her film debut in Lovers and Other Strangers in 1970.  Her breakout role came two years later when she was cast as Kay Adams in the 1972 film in the Oscar-winning The Godfather and she was on her way to stardom. She reprised her role in the film’s sequels: The Godfather: Part II and The Godfather: Part III.  

Keaton’s other notable films of the 1970s included Sleeper, Love and Death and the screen adaptation of the stage play, Play It Again, Sam.  

In 1977 she appeared in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, which won her a Golden Globe nomination. It was the same year that she appeared in the title role of Annie Hall.  She won the Oscar for Best Actress and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress for this film.  
Keaton received additional Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in Reds, Marvin’s Room and Something’s Gotta Give.  She has been nominated for nine Golden Globe Awards, four People Choice Awards, five National Society of Film Critics Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and many others.

This prolific actress has appeared in over 52 iconic movies. She has served as a producer on films and television series as well.  
Keaton is the author of two books, Then Again and Let’s Just Say it Wasn’t Pretty.  Her audiobook recording of Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem was nominated for a 2013 Audie Award in the Short Stories/Collections category. 

Her philanthropic work includes being active with the Los Angeles Conservancy to save and restore historic buildings.  

Peggy Noonan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, where her weekly column, Declarations, has run since 2000. She is also the bestselling author of nine books on American politics, history and culture, including the bestsellers “What I Saw At the Revolution” and “When Character Was King.” 

Noonan is one of 10 historians and writers who contributed essays on the American presidency for the book, “Character Above All.” In her most recent release, “The Time of Our Lives,” she chronicles her career in journalism, the Reagan White House and the political arena.

April 10, 2017, Noonan received the Pulitzer Prize for Political Commentary for her coverage of the 2016 Presidential Election. In 2008, the National Journal dubbed Noonan’s political column indispensable to an understanding of the presidential year, and Forbes magazine called her column “principled, perceptive, persuasive, and patriotic.” Noonan’s essays have appeared in TIME, Newsweek, The Washington Post and other publications, and she provides frequent political commentary on television.

Noonan was a special assistant and speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan.  In 2010, she was given the Award for Media Excellence by the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The following year she was chosen as Columnist of the Year by The Week. In Nov. 2016, she was named one of the city’s Literary Lions by the New York Public Library. 

Noonan has been a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, and has taught in the history department at Yale University.
Before entering the Reagan White House, Noonan was a producer and writer at CBS News in New York, and an adjunct professor of Journalism at New York University.  She was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up there, in Massapequa Park, Long Island, and in Rutherford, New Jersey.  She is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University in Rutherford.  

Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, III has been dedicated to the pursuit of safety his entire adult life. While he is best known for serving as Captain during what has been called the “Miracle on the Hudson,” Sullenberger is a safety expert speaker, and author. He still flies privately. 

Born and raised in Denison, Texas, Sullenberger pursued his childhood love of aviation by learning to fly at age 16, while still in high school, and later at the United States Air Force Academy. At his graduation from the Academy in 1973, he received the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award. In addition to his bachelor's degree in psychology, he also has two master's degrees, one in industrial psychology from Purdue University and one in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado. He also has an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Purdue University. 

Sullenberger served as a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force. He advanced to become a flight leader and a training officer, attaining the rank of Captain. During his active duty, he was stationed in North America and Europe. After serving in the Air Force, in Feb. 1980, Sullenberger became an airline pilot with Pacific Southwest Airlines, later acquired by US Airways, until his retirement from commercial flying in March 2010. 

Prior to gaining worldwide attention, Sullenberger was an active and ardent safety advocate throughout his four-decade-long career. He was selected to perform accident investigation duties for the United States Air Force, and served as an Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) representative during a National Transportation Safety Board accident investigation. Additionally, Sullenberger served as a Local Air Safety Chairman for ALPA, and was a member of one of their national technical committees, where he contributed to the creation of a Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular. He was also instrumental in developing and implementing the Crew Resource Management course used by US Airways, and he taught the course to hundreds of other airline crewmembers. 

After logging more than 20,000 hours of flight time Sullenberger became internationally renowned Jan. 15, 2009 when he and his crew safely guided US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency water landing in New York City's frigid Hudson River. The Airbus A320's two engines had lost thrust following a bird strike. Sullenberger and his crew received international acclaim for their actions that day, including the passage of a Congressional resolution recognizing their bravery. 

Sullenberger was ranked second in TIME's "Top 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons of 2009” and was awarded the French Legion of Honour.Sullenberger is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of “Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters” and also wrote “Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America's Leaders.” Clint Eastwood directed the major motion picture about Sullenberger's life, titled Sully, based on “Highest Duty.” Tom Hanks starred in the lead role; Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney co-starred. The film was released to critical acclaim in Sept. 2016 and garnered four Broadcast Film Critics nominations and one Academy Award nomination. “Highest Duty” has been republished as “Sully: My Search for What Really Matters.” 

Sullenberger is an international lecturer and keynote speaker at educational institutions, corporations and non-profit organizations about the importance of aviation and patient safety, high performance systems' improvement, leadership, crisis management, life-long preparation, and living a life of integrity. He presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2011, as well as the Swiss Economic Forum that same year. In collaboration with DuPont Sustainable Solutions, Sullenberger developed and was featured in an award-winning video training program, Miracle on the Hudson: Prepare for Safety, which helps employees increase their commitment to safety and transform their organizations' safety culture. 

At the request of Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Sullenberger began serving on the DOT's Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation in Jan. 2017. From 2009 to 2013, he served as co-chairman of EAA Young Eagles—a program that inspires and educates youth about aviation. 

Jason Beyersdorfer
(732) 220-3055