My university, the University of Idaho, just received word that our Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival has been awarded the National Medal of Arts for 2007, by George W. Bush. This is the first time a public university has won this honor. The University President, Timothy P. White, will accept the award in an East Room ceremony in the White House on Thursday.
The National Medal of Arts, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government. The NEA’s website states, “The National Medal of Arts is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who, in his judgment, ‘…are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.'”
I think that’s pretty cool. We’re pretty proud of our Lionel Hampton School of Music, and now our annual Jazz Festival gets a prize. Thanks, President Bush. (ow)