James A. Michener, who established the James A. Michener Awards for graduates of the UI Writers' Workshop in 1980, is one of the world's most popular authors. Since 1947, starting with the Pulitzer Prize-wining Tales of the South Pacific he has written 30 books, including many novels about different cultures, and texts for five art books. His work has been translated into most major languages of the world, with a readership in the many millions.
Mr. Michener has also devoted much time to public service. In 1968 he served as secretary of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention; from 1970-74 he worked in 47 foreign nations as part of a commission for the U.S. Information Agency. He has also been a cultural ambassador to many countries. In 1982, at the request of the state department, he participated in a United Nations-sponsored cultural exchange in Mexico City, and in the UNISPACE Conference in Vienna. Since 1979 he has served on the NASA Advisory Council.
Mr. Michener has received honorary doctorates in five fields from more than 20 universities as well as the United States' highest civilian award, the Medal of Honor. He is a life member of the UI Presidents Club.