Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that award-winning actress, artist, author and producer Jane Seymour has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization.
Ms. Seymour joins 13 other exceptional business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2020 honors. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon esteemed individuals who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their communities.
The eldest of three daughters, Ms. Seymour grew up in the outskirts of London, England. Her parents were both severely affected by the hardships of World War II. Her mother was held for three and a half years as a prisoner of war in an internment camp by the Japanese, and her father lost many relatives during the Holocaust. But, they beat incredible odds to provide a stable life for their family and taught their daughters the importance of perseverance. Ms. Seymour always dreamed of becoming a dancer, but an early knee injury put a stop to her plans and she decided to pursue acting. At a turning point in her career she faced significant economic hardship due to betrayal and financial mismanagement and nearly filed for bankruptcy, but she was able to pull through.
Ms. Seymour was cast in various roles in her early career before receiving international recognition in 1973 as the Bond Girl, Solitaire, in Live or Let Die. She went on to appear in more than 100 films and television shows, most notably starring as Dr. Michaela Quinn in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, a role that earned her a Golden Globe. In the 1980s, Ms. Seymour began a parallel career as a writer, and has authored 14 inspirational self-help books. She is also an accomplished painter. In 2008, she created a special collection of jewelry, “Open Hearts by Jane Seymour.” Each piece features an open heart design, which serves as a reminder that if we keep our hearts open, love will always find its way in. Ms. Seymour also founded Jane Seymour Designs, a national brand inspired by her homes, art, and family-centered lifestyle.
“Ms. Seymour is an extraordinary talent and role model,” said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director, Horatio Alger Association. “Her generous nature and passion for serving others is apparent throughout her many projects and interests, and her philanthropic work closely aligns with all that we aim to accomplish at the Horatio Alger Association. We are honored to have her join our Member class of 2020.”
Ms. Seymour is an involved member of a variety of organizations that give back. She is an international ambassador for Childhelp, a nonprofit that aids victims of child abuse, and a member of the American Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet. In 2010, Ms. Seymour established the Open Hearts Foundation, based upon selfless giving, even in the face of adversity, to communities worldwide. Through its grantmaking and Young Hearts volunteerism programs, the Foundation provides philanthropic grants and curates purpose driven service projects, connecting people who live with an open heart with small and emerging non-profits in need.
“I have had the privilege of attending the Horatio Alger Awards for the last several years as the guest of my friends, Glenn and Mindy Stearns,” said Ms. Seymour. “I also hosted the organization’s Evening of Achievement event in 2018 at the Kennedy Center, which was an incredible experience and a chance for me to further understand the mission of the Association and connect with its Members and Scholars. To be invited to join this prestigious group, after having admired its important work for so long, is extremely humbling and gratifying. My heart is full.”
Thanks to the generosity of its Members, the Association awards need-based scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. The Association also educates young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system through hard work, honesty and determination. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, the Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $180 million to 27,000 students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.
Ms. Seymour and the Member Class of 2020 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 2-4, 2020, during the Association’s 73rd Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact as well as exchange stories of hardships and triumphs.