Arts at Winthrop

Medal of Honor

2012 Recipients


Christine Fisher

Medal of Honor - Recipients - Christine FisherChristine Fisher grew up in Asheboro, N.C., where in sixth grade she made up her mind that she wanted to be a band teacher. Fast forward to 1998 when she was selected as the South Carolina Teacher of the Year for her work at Southside Middle School in Florence, S.C., representing 47,000 public school teachers in South Carolina. She is the only music teacher ever to hold the honor in the history of the Teacher of the Year program in South Carolina.

Fisher became director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project at Winthrop in 2001 where she has been influential in helping advocate for the arts across South Carolina.

Last year, she assisted the S.C. Department of Education in revising the South Carolina 2003 Curriculum Guides to correlate with the latest Visual and Performing Arts Achievement Standards. She was selected as member of the Arts Integration Committee of the Arts Schools Network and worked with the Disney Imaginers to develop arts integration sessions at the National Arts Schools Network Conference held at Disney Land.

Fisher is president elect of the Southern Division of the National Association for Music Education (formerly MENC) and was induced into the S.C. Music Education Association Hall of Fame. She received the Life Time Achievement Award from the S.C. Theatre Association and the S.C. Verner Award for Arts Education. (Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts), as well as the President's Award for the S.C. Dance Association. Fisher also has been a clarinetist in the Florence Symphony Orchestra for 34 years. .


North Carolina Dance Theatre

Medal of Honor - Recipients - NCDTThe North Carolina Dance Theatre was founded in 1970 by Robert Lindgren, former dean of dance at North Carolina School of the Arts. Moved to Charlotte in 1990, the award-winning company now has a new facility (Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance) in the uptown area with six dance studios, community and meeting spaces, and a 200-seat performance venue

Its 21 professional dancers present five performance series each year and offer an education and outreach program that reaches thousands. It has started a groundbreaking community outreach dance program partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Park & Recreation, called NCDT REACH!, to groom talented dancers

It recently received national critical acclaim after performing at the Kennedy Center's "Ballet Across America" program in Washington D.C. and has been asked to perform again there in 2013

The company's ties to Winthrop's dance program remain strong. In 2009, Dance Theatre presented the ballet Glass Houses, a collaboration between Dance Theatre's rehearsal director and choreographer, and a Winthrop professor and sculptor. A Dance Theatre administrator is a Winthrop alumna, while at least two other faculty members have worked closely with the company.


Joseph P. Riley Jr.

Medal of Honor - Recipients - Joseph Riley Jr.Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. is widely considered one of the most visionary and highly effective governmental leaders in America. First elected mayor in December 1975, he is serving an unprecedented tenth term and has said this will be his last.

Under his leadership, Charleston has increased its commitment to racial harmony and progress; achieved a substantial decrease in crime; experienced a remarkable revitalization of its historic downtown business district; seen the creation and growth of Spoleto Festival U.S.A.; added significantly to the city's park system, including the highly celebrated Waterfront Park; developed nationally-acclaimed affordable housing; and experienced unprecedented growth in Charleston's size and population.

President Barack Obama presented Riley with the 2009 National Medal of the Arts at the White House for cultivating Charleston's historic and cultural resources to enhance public spaces, and for revitalizing urban centers throughout our nation as founder of the Mayors' Institute on City Design. The American Architectural Foundation and the U. S. Conference of Mayors in February 2010 created The Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Award for Leadership in City Design in his honor. Riley has received the Order of the Palmetto, been named South Carolinian of the Year, and given the 1982 Verner Award by the S.C. Arts Commission for outstanding contributions to the arts.

Riley has received an honorary degree from Winthrop among other South Carolina public institutions.


Charles Wadsworth

Medal of Honor - Recipients - Charles WadsworthCharles Wadsworth created the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 1969, leading it as artistic director and pianist for 20 years and bringing chamber music the unprecedented popularity that it enjoys today. His innovative programming and the varied repertoire he unearthed inspired a new generation of virtuoso musicians to perform chamber music and fostered the creation of chamber music festivals worldwide.

From 1977 to 2010, he was the artistic director and host for the daily Chamber Music Concerts at the Spoleto USA Festival in Charleston, S.C.

A pianist of choice for several illustrious singers, Wadsworth toured as concert partner for 12 seasons with Beverly Sills. At the request of the White House, he has performed for five U.S. presidents: Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan. He now performs widely with his "Charles Wadsworth and Friends" programs, which frequently include violinist Chee-Yun and clarinetist Todd Palmer.

Wadsworth's many honors include The Republic of France's Chevalier in the Order Of Arts and Letters, and Italy's Cavaliere Ufficiale in the Order of Merit. He has received New York City's highest cultural award, the Handel Medallion, in addition to South Carolina's Order of the Palmetto and the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award.