Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s LeVar Burton has won an award for his “tireless, decades-long dedication to children’s literacy and AIDS research and treatment.”
The award is the 2019 Inamori Ethics Prize, to be given to Burton this autumn by the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University.
“I couldn’t have been more surprised by the news,” said Burton. “This is a very prestigious honor, and as the first recipient from the field of the Arts, I look forward to being able to accept the prize and thank the committee in person.”
“I’m delighted to have LeVar Burton as our first prize-winner from the Arts,” said Shannon E. French, Inamori Professor in Ethics and director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence. “His work for children’s literacy has had such profound impact. He has truly transformed lives through PBS’s Reading Rainbow and his nonprofit work. And he has also been a change agent in support of more funding for AIDS research.
“Beyond these enduring contributions, as an actor he made the world confront the inhumanity of slavery with his searing, unforgettable performance as Kunta Kinte in Roots and helped us all imagine a better, more just future as a star of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He’s a wonderful example of what it is to be an ethical leader in the arts, and I know he will inspire our students and our community.”
Burton will receive his award at the Inamori Center events which run from September 19-20 on the Case Western Reserve campus in Cleveland, Ohio. He will also give a free public lecture about his work as “part of an academic symposium and panel discussion.”