San Anselmo’s George Lucas, the Star Wars and Indiana Jones creator, and Fairfax’s Kay Ryan, a two-term U.S. poet laureate who won a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry, received national medals for their arts and humanities contributions Wednesday at the White House.
President Barack Obama presented the awards to Lucas, Ryan and the other 21 medal recipients.
Obama told the group their talents “open up minds and nourish souls,” according to a report in the Marin Independent Journal.
"We celebrate people like our honorees here today not just because of their talent, but because they create something new. They create a new space and that becomes a lasting contribution to American life," Obama said.
Lucas, who recently unveiled the world’s first life-size statue of Indiana Jones and a Yoda statue in the new San Anselmo park he donated to the community, was honored for his “contributions to American cinema.”
When Lucas appeared before hundreds of community members for the recent statue unveiling, days before he wed Mellody Hobson, he spoke about how both Star Wars and Indiana Jones were created in San Anselmo. “They were both written and made here. It’s something that a lot of of people are intrigued by,” he said.
In December 2012, Patch readers nominated Lucas to be the 2012 San Anselmo – Fairfax Patch Person of the Year because of all the local contributions he's made to the community.
In the White House announcement, officials applauded Ryan, who taught at the College of Marin for more than three decades, for her work as a poet and educator, according to the IJ.
“Her witty and compact verse, infused with subtle wordplay, reminds us of the power of language to evoke wisdom from the ordinary.”
Ryan and Lucas, who live in neighboring towns, were the only medal recipients from California.