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September 18th, 2019
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (September 18, 2019) — Charlene Donchez Mowers, President of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites, has been conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Moravian College in recognition of her lifelong dedication and commitment to the worldwide recognition of Historic Moravian Bethlehem.
The conferment occurred as part of Moravian College’s 2019 Heritage Day, Wednesday, September 18.
“This is such an exciting day and I am delighted to have received this prestigious recognition from President Grigsby and Moravian College. The college had been a great partner over the years with Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites and in our quest for placement of Historic Moravian Bethlehem on the World Heritage List.” commented Mowers.
The process to achieve World Heritage status for Historic Moravian Bethlehem, a National Historic Landmark District, has been underway for 16 years led by Mowers and Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites with the cooperation and support of the Bethlehem Area Moravians, Central Moravian Church, City of Bethlehem, Moravian College, and Northampton County.
In 2017, Mayor Donchez established the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission and asked Mowers to be president of this 18-member group. Since then, Mowers has been working with the Mayor and Commission members in the effort to fulfill the World Heritage nomination process requirements, raise the funds necessary to complete the extensive submission, and prepare the city for World Heritage Site designation.
In July 2017, Historic Moravian Bethlehem became part of an exclusive list of sites in the United States for eventual nomination to the World Heritage List. Becoming a WHS would give Historic Moravian Bethlehem the same lofty stature as treasures like the Great Wall of China, Sydney Opera House and the Acropolis as well as Independence Hall, the Statue of Liberty and 21 other sites here in the United States.
With its intact core of original buildings and legacy of timeless values, Historic Moravian Bethlehem preserves some of the most important structures and sites across 14.7 acres of the original Moravian settlement dating to 1741. Already a National Historic Landmark District, it is an outstanding example of Moravian architecture and town planning as well as the upholding of ideals such as equality, education, industry, spirituality and integrity.
“Becoming a World Heritage Site will be the ultimate recognition for the cultural significance of Historic Moravian Bethlehem on the world stage,” said Mowers.
As part of the Moravian College Heritage Day ceremonies, Curtis “Hank” Barnette, Vice-Chair of the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission, member of the Moravian College Board of Trustees, and Chairman Emeritus of Bethlehem Steel, was the Presidential Medal recipient for his continued dedication and support of the college.
Moravian College President Bryon L. Grigsby, a member of the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission, started Heritage Day in 2016 as a celebration of Moravian tradition, community, and service. “Heritage Day is a special day for the entire Moravian College community every year,” said Grigsby. “This year is even more special since we have the opportunity to honor two people who’ve given so much to Moravian College and the City of Bethlehem in Hank Barnette and Charlene Donchez Mowers.”
About Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites
Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is a not-for-profit institution that brings to life three centuries of American history. Historic Bethlehem tells the story of a small town of great influence, home to some of our nation’s early settlers, to the first pumped municipal water system in the American colonies, and to one of the world’s greatest industrial companies. Historic Bethlehem is located in eastern Pennsylvania, only an hour drive north from Philadelphia and two hours west of New York City. Historic Bethlehem is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, part of a National Historic Landmark District, and a designated site on the US Tentative List.
About Moravian College
Moravian College is the nation’s sixth-oldest college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania offering undergraduate and graduate degrees that blend liberal arts with professional programs. For more than 275 years, the Moravian College degree has been preparing students for reflective lives, fulfilling careers, and transformative leadership in a world of change. Moravian College is a member of The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U), a national consortium of selective, small to mid-size independent colleges and universities dedicated to the purposeful integration of liberal education, professional studies, and civic engagement. Visit moravian.edu to learn more about how the Moravian College focus on education for all prepares its students for life-long success.
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