Joan Ganz Cooney co-founded the Children’s Television Workshop (since renamed Sesame Workshop) in 1968 and has created children’s programming, including Sesame Street, The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, and Dragon Tales, for more than three decades. She served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sesame Workshop until 1990 and is currently Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Workshop’s board.
Mrs. Cooney has received numerous awards, including a Daytime Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in 1989 and, in 1990, was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame and received the Founders Award from the International Council of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 1995, Mrs. Cooney was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and, in 1998, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Mrs. Cooney was honored with the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s award for Distinguished Contribution to Children and Television, and, most recently, she was honored with the National Endowment for the Humanities Award by President Bush.
Mrs. Cooney is a trustee of the Museum of Television and Radio and The New York Presbyterian Hospital and is a lifetime trustee of WNET Channel 13/Educational Broadcasting Corporation and of the National Child Labor Committee. Among her many honorary degrees are those from Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Barnard, New York University, Smith, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Oberlin, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, and her alma mater, the University of Arizona, from which she received the Centennial Medallion Award in 1989.