The Pennsylvania Society president James Nevels has announced that filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan is the 2012 recipient of the society’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement. The presentation of the medal will occur at the society’s annual dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on Dec. 8.
The Gold Medal is given every year for distinguished achievement to a prominent person in recognition of leadership, citizenship and contributions to the arts, science, education and industry.
Past recipients include President George H.W. Bush, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jane G. Pepper, Dr. Gertrude Barber, Bill Cosby, Gov. Tom Ridge, Chris Matthews, Arnold Palmer, Andrew Wyeth, Sen. Arlen Specter, Dan Rooney, H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, Gov. Robert P. Casey and Dr. Guion Bluford.
Shyamalan is the youngest person to receive the award in the history of The Pennsylvania Society.
“This year we are very proud to award an individual who has contributed so much to popular culture and to Pennsylvania,” said Carol McC. Fitzgerald, executive director of The Pennsylvania Society. “Mr. Shyamalan exemplifies creative passion, and we are extremely delighted to honor someone who has already contributed so much, and has a continued prosperous career ahead of him.”
Shyamalan, a Philadelphia native and resident of the area, will be honored with the award for his achievements in writing, directing, producing and acting in American films often set in and around Philadelphia and for his philanthropy. Having written and directed a dozen films, Shyamalan’s most popular work was his 1999 film “The Sixth Sense,” featuring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, which was nominated for six Academy Awards.
The Pennsylvania Society, founded in 1899, is a nonprofit, patriotic and charitable organization with more than 2,000 members from the commonwealth and throughout the United States and the world. Founded to encourage the ideals of William Penn, its purpose is to honor achievement, reward excellence, promote scholarship, good will and understanding, and unite all Pennsylvanians in bonds of fellowship and friendship.