Alumnus and board member Mark Land, board members Ralph Womble and Ashley Edwards receive Giannini Awards from UNCSA

UNCSA has announced the recipients of the Giannini Society Award for both 2021 and 2022. Mark Land, 1976-78 student of the UNCSA School of Dance, former staff member, and member of the UNCSA Board of Trustees, received the 2022 award. Ralph Womble and Ashley Edwards, longtime UNCSA board members and supporters, received the 2021 award, which was not presented in person last spring due to COVID-19-related event restrictions. Instead, both awards were presented during the university’s recent Celebration of Excellence.

The Giannini Society was established in 1989 and was named in honor of Vittorio Giannini, a founder and the first president of the School of the Arts. It is a group of dedicated ambassadors who provide leadership annual support for the training of UNCSA students.

The award is given annually to members of the society in recognition of their service and support. Previous recipients include founders, board members, alumni, volunteers, former chancellors and faculty members.

Photo of Giannini Award Winners

Ralph Womble, Ashley Edwards and Mark Land at the 2022 Celebration of Excellence ceremony. / Photo: Wayne Reich

“We are deeply grateful for the many ways Mark, Ralph and Ashley have made a significant difference in the trajectory of our university and the lives of our students,” said Chancellor Brian Cole. “We are fortunate to have all three of them as board members, volunteers, donors and friends, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to recognize their service in this way. In addition, I am grateful that we were able to finally honor our 2021 recipients in person, as well as our 2022 recipient.”

The 2022 Giannini Society Award recipient Mark Land was a student of the School of Dance from 1976-78 and professional performer with the North Carolina Dance Theatre and other professional ballet companies. He currently serves as vice chair of the UNCSA Board of Trustees. For nearly a decade in the 1990s, Land served as alumni relations director at UNCSA before beginning a career in financial planning and private foundation support. He was the senior managing director at Foundation Source, the nation’s largest provider of advisory services for private foundations, until his retirement in 2016. He also served on the boards of YMCA of Northwest North Carolina and the RiverRun International Film Festival.

Land established a scholarship in the UNCSA School of Dance in memory of his late wife, Pat, which has provided vital support for emerging artists in the years since.

Ralph Womble

Ralph Womble at the 2022 High School Commencement ceremony. / Photo: Wayne Reich

The 2021 Giannini Society Award recipients, Ralph Womble and Ashley Edwards, have spent decades dedicated to UNCSA and the wider nonprofit landscape in North Carolina. Womble is the current chair of the UNCSA Board of Trustees and chaired the university’s Powering Creativity campaign, which raised more than $75.3 million in support for the university between 2016 and 2021. Edwards serves on the UNCSA Board of Visitors. Together, the couple has supported numerous scholarships and program funds at UNCSA. They have been involved with the Winston-Salem Millennium Fund, the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, the John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation, Bookmarks, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, and numerous other local charitable and community development organizations.

Womble previously served as president of Hanes Companies, Inc., vice president of Leggett & Platt, and president of Hanes Dye & Finishing Company. Edwards previously served as finance director for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.

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June 07, 2022