NII Award Winners Highlighted At Telecommunications Bill Signing Ceremony

Two NII Award Winners Serve as Examples of Outstanding Use of the Information Highway

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 8, 1996 -- Two winners of the 1995 National Information Infrastructure (NII) Awards were highlighted today at the official signing of the new national telecommunications bill at the Library of Congress. A cross section of 250 private and public sector leaders attended the ceremony including President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, AT&T Chairman Robert Allen and Time-Warner Chairman Gerald Levin.

In a multimedia display before and after the bill signing ceremony, the DO-IT Program and the Alzheimers' Disease Support Center were used as examples of how interactive communications will benefit the lives of Americans and people worldwide.

Created in 1995, the NII Awards are the only international awards program designed to recognize excellence and innovation in use of the information highway. The NII Awards program is a non-partisan, private-sector initiative made possible through a collaborative relationship with private and public-sector leaders. The mission of the program is to help the global community realize the potential of a networked society by identifying examples of excellence and helping others learn from those examples.

In 1995, the NII Awards were presented in Washington, D.C. to winners in six categories. Among the winners recognized today was the DO-IT Program, winner of the NII Education Award for its use of the Internet to provide distance learning and mentoring to high school students with disabilities; and the Alzheimers' Disease Support Center, which won the NII Community Award for its bulletin board system that provides an electronic support community for the families of Alzheimers' victims.

Others winning awards in 1995 included HotWired (Arts & Entertainment winner), the National Materials Exchange Network (Business winner), the Utah Library Network Initiative (Government winner) and the Information Network for Public Health Officials (Health winner).

"The winners of the NII Awards represent real-life benefits delivered through the NII and give us an encouraging look at what is possible in the future," has said Vice President Al Gore. "These examples help all Americans understand the promise and potential of the information superhighway. And, as others continue to create exciting innovations of their own, our lives will be enriched for generations to come."

"Today's recognition is a confirmation of the profound impact the NII Award winners have had on peoples' well being," said James Hake, Chairman of the NII Awards, in attendance at the signing of the bill. "We hope participants in today's event will not only be encouraged by the achievements of the winners but will examine and learn from the conditions that led to those achievements."

"With barriers to competition falling, our hope is the information infrastructure will become more accessible to more people," Hake continued. "Now we must overcome the barriers of awareness and participation and help people put their access to work. The NII Awards offers countless examples of how businesses, communities and organizations of all kinds can use the information superhighway."

According to Hake, the NII Awards will announce details regarding the 1996 Awards program later this month, including deadlines, entry procedures and information about sponsors of the upcoming, program. In 1995, the first year of the pro-ram, the NII Awards attracted more than 550 entries and 180 judges.

The NII Awards were created by Access Media Inc., based in Santa Monica, California. 

Sheryl's acceptance speech at the award ceremony.