Wake Forest University announced Martha Mason, a 1960 Wake Forest graduate, as the winner of the university’s Pro Humanitate Award during a Sept. 5 ceremony on campus. The award, one of the university’s highest honors, was presented to Mason in recognition of a life lived in the spirit of the university’s motto, Pro Humanitate (for humanity.)
Mason arrived on the Wake Forest campus in 1958 encased in an 800-pound iron lung, where she has spent most of her life since contracting polio at age 11. She wrote a memoir about her experiences in 2003 titled “Breath: Life in the Rhythm of an Iron Lung.” She wrote the book using a voice-activated computer.
Provost Emeritus Ed Wilson and Assistant Professor of Communication Mary Dalton presented Mason with the award in August at her home in Lattimore, in Cleveland County, and aired a video of her acceptance during the ceremony.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Martha when she was a student,” said Wilson during the Sept. 5 award presentation. “She brought to her coursework a depth of insight well beyond her years, along with a talent for writing that the rest of the world is just coming to realize through her recently published memoir.”
The university held a reading from Mason’s memoir on campus in March.
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