Medallion of Merit Award Winners

Medallion of Merit is the highest honor bestowed by NSAL. It is given to those individuals whose lifetime achievements in the arts embody the highest standards and whose careers will stand as role models for young artists.

2017 Medallion of Merit Recipient Carol Schilling

Born and raised in southern Indiana and a graduate in English literature from Indiana University, Ms. Schilling moved to Arizona to attend graduate school in anthropology at the University of Arizona.

Words being an important part of her genetic makeup (her mother and her five sisters were published authors), Ms. Schilling became a reporter and editor for The Phoenix Gazette before retiring into motherhood and community volunteer work in the 1970s.

She has been a volunteer and a philanthropist for more than 40 years. She has been a donor to and served on the boards of Ballet Arizona, Arizona Opera, the Desert Botanical Garden, and Arizona School for the Arts.

At the Desert Botanical Garden, she started out as a horticultural aide, founding and editing The Sonoran Quarterly bulletin, and eventually becoming a member of the Garden board of Trustees. 

Ballet Arizona captured her heart with a performance of “Serenade” and she became a board member and major donor for 16 years, helping to lead the organization out of debt to its present state of being debt-free and enjoying an endowment. She and her husband Randy, a professional fundraiser, led the capital campaign of $13.5 million that obtained a new rehearsal and administrative home for the company and school. She recruited board members and other donors to help Ballet Arizona make its rise to artistic excellence and financial stability. She facilitated a joint arrangement through which Ballet Arizona performs at the Desert Botanical Garden and has been a major funder for that project. Ballet Arizona honored the Schillings at their winter gala this past January.

Ms. Schilling was given the Arizona Philanthropist of the Year award in 2008 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In addition to the Desert Botanical Garden, Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona, and Arizona School for the Arts, she has been a donor to many local organizations including The Phoenix Zoo, Audubon Arizona, the Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Theater, and Arizona Humane Society.

Ms. Schilling is a founding trustee and now chairs the board of trustees of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

She has two grown children and is married to Randy Schilling.

1966        Guy Taylor, Music -Conductor*
1967        Dr. Joseph Woods Krutch, Art
1968        Louise Lincoln Kerr, Patron*
1969        Dr. Collice Henry Portnoff, Literature*
1970        Veda Berkman, Piano*
1970        Forrest Thornburg, Drama*
1971         Walter Bohl, Art*
1971         Donald and Bea Issac, Music*  
1972        Glendon Swarthout, Literature*
1973        Dr. Eugene Lombardi, Music*
1974        David B. Scoular, Music*
1975         John Henry Waddell, Art
1976        Philip C. Curtis, Art*
1978        Drs, Ariel and Will Durant, Literature*
1979        Bettina Hall-Rubicam, Drama*
1979        Sandy Rosenthal, Drama
1980        Dr. William Christiansen, Dance*
1981         Dr. Leonard Lehrer, Art
1982         Horacio Gutierrez, Music
1984         John W. Paul, Drama
1986         Helen Blair Crosbie, Art
1987         Barbara Leslie Jordan Yellot, Literature*
1988         Don Dedera, Literature
1989         Dr. Donald Doyle, Drama

1990        George Zoritch, Dance*
1991         The Honorable Barry M. Goldwater, Art*
1992         Madame Galina Vishnevskaya, Music*
1992         Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich, Music*
1993          Shelley Cohn (Arizona Commission on the Arts)
1994          Alan Prewitt, Drama
1995          Kathy Hotchner (Scottsdale Cultural Council)
1996          Rudy Turk, Art
1997          Glynn Ross, Music*
1998          Ron Carlson, Literature
1999          Robert Sorenson, Drama
2000         Frances Smith Cohen, Dance
2001          Ben Goo, Art, Sculpture
2002         Dr. Robert Hamilton, Music- Piano
2003          Dr. Alberto Rios, Literature, Poetry
2004          Mrs. Judy Kaye, Musical Theatre
2005          Dr. J. Robert Wills, Drama*
2006          LB Andersen, Dance
2007          Allen Dutton, Photography
2008          Nancy and Richard Joaquim, Voice
2009          Dr. David Saar, Drama
2010           Jewell Parker Rhodes, Literature
2011           Dr. Jory Hancock, Dance
2012           Michael Barnard, Musical Theatre
2013           Merrill Mahaffey, Print Making
2014           Robert Moody, Music – Conductor          
2015           Dwayne Hartford, Drama                   2016           Colleen Jennings-Roggensack                          

* Deceased