ATLANTA---The Rialto Center for the Arts is honoring the president and first lady of Georgia State University as distinguished leaders who have contributed significantly to the health and vitality of the city's arts and cultural communities.
Dr. Mark P. Becker and Laura L. Voisinet, president and first lady of Georgia State University, are this year's recipients of the Rialto Pioneer Award. The award will be presented at the Rialto's performance of Tiempo Libre - Salsa Autentica this Saturday, April 27, at 8 p.m.
Dr. Mark Becker is currently serving as the seventh president of the university after beginning his term on Jan. 1, 2009. Under Becker's leadership, GSU has overseen the launch of a variety of research initiatives focused on excellence among faculty and students. These initiatives, the cornerstone of which is the university's strategic plan adopted in 2011, are aimed at positioning GSU as a premier urban research university. Prior to his appointment to GSU, Becker served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina. He also has held administrative leadership roles at the University of Minnesota, and the University of Michigan and has held academic positions at the University of Washington, the University of Florida and Cornell University.
Voisinet has served in numerous professional and service positions, including Finance Manager at an independent K-12 Waldorf School in Michigan; spearheading accreditation of two independent schools; working as a counselor at Harvest Hope Food Bank in South Carolina; and serving on the Financial Assessment Committee for Habitat for Humanity in South Carolina. In September 2012, Ms. Voisinet launched the GSU Women's Philanthropy Initiative with a committed group of GSU women leaders and friends to encourage giving and scholarship funds. Passionate about education and the arts, she serves on the boards of the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University, the university's Library Ambassador Board and the Theatrical Outfit Board. In addition to serving tirelessly as Georgia State's chief ambassador, Voisinet is active in the community, serving on the Virginia-Highland Civic Association and volunteering for a number of non-profit organizations.
Previous Rialto Pioneer Award winners include Joanne McGhee, founder of Dancers Collective and former adjunct professor of dance at Georgia State University; Peg and Bill Balzer, downtown residents and noted arts supporters whose name is on the Balzer Theater next door, both alumnae of GSU; Carl and Gretchen Patton, past President of Georgia State University and his wife; Jo Ann Haden-Miller, Director of Cultural and Heritage Tourism, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau; Kathy and Ken Bernhardt, who have given years to the arts here in Atlanta, serving tirelessly on boards and advising arts organizations around town; and Kwanza Hall, Atlanta City Council representative and advocate for the arts and culture.
Tickets to the performance start at $38 and are available at the Rialto Center's box office, 404-413-9TIX (9849) or www.rialtocenter.org. Group and Georgia State University student discounts are offered for this show. The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University is located at 80 Forsyth Street NW, Atlanta. Free parking is available for all Rialto Series events.