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Lawson Receives Ralph Lowell Award

CHICAGO—The Corporation for Public Broadcasting presented its 2016 Ralph Lowell Award to Jennifer Lawson, senior vice president of television production and digital video content for CPB. Presented by Board Chair Elizabeth Sembler, the award recognizes Lawson’s achievements in and contributions to public television.

2016 Ralph Lowell Award honoree Jennifer Lawson, center, with Pat Harrison, left, and Elizabeth Sembler

Lawson has served in public television for 30 years, beginning her career with CPB with the Television Program Fund. In 1989 she took over the position of executive vice president for national programming and promotion for PBS. There she helped develop children’s series “Barney and Friends” and “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego;” she also led scheduling and programming strategies for Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” and “Baseball.”

In addition, Lawson was the general manager and CEO of WHUT, chair of the APT board of directors, and served two terms on the PBS board of directors and at one point was the board vice chair. She rejoined CPB in 2011. Lawson has announced her plans to retire from CPB in May.

“Jennifer Lawson has been at the heart of public television for more than 30 years and her leadership has resulted in a stronger, more connected, vibrant public media service—serving every American,” said Sembler. “Jennifer brought to public media a passion for making education accessible to all Americans and contributed groundbreaking leadership that yielded some of public television’s greatest successes.”

The Ralph Lowell Award was named after the Boston philanthropist and founder of WGBH Educational Foundation. The award has been handed out since 1971 and presented to people like Fred Rogers, James A. Fellows, Ken Burns, Sen. Ted Kennedy and David Fanning.