A West Virginia University music professor and opera singer will give the first Benedum Distinguished Scholar Awards lecture at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, in the Creative Arts Center, Falbo Theatre.

Peter Lightfoot, an associate music professor who has performed leading operatic roles around the globe, will lecture on In Search of a Character . The public may attend.

Lightfoot is one of three recipients of this years Benedum Awards, which recognize WVU faculty for achievements in research, scholarship and creative endeavors.

Other winners are Linda Butler, professor of plant and soil sciences, and Mark Koepke, professor of physics. The recipients receive a $2,500 award and give a lecture related to their field.

“I understand Im the first performer from the creative arts area to receive this award, so its quite an honor,”said Lightfoot, whose award is in humanities and the arts.”It was an honor enough to have been nominated, let alone to have won.”

Lightfoot, who joined the WVU music faculty in 1994, has performed with the New York City Opera and other companies in the United States, Mexico, Europe and Africa. His performances include roles in La Bohme , Madam Butterfly , Porgy and Bess, Rigoletto and Tosca .

The baritone has also performed with orchestras in North and South America and Europe and appeared on PBS and National Public Radio.

His performances have received critical acclaim in publications ranging from Opera News to The New York Times . He has been awarded a Career Grant and Bronze Medal in performance from the National Opera Institute and a Sullivan Foundation Grant.

Born in New York City, Lightfoot has a degree from the Juilliard School of Music. He also has a bachelors degree in history and economics from TuftsUniversity and a masters degree in business administration from ColumbiaUniversity. He worked for a firm off Wall Street before pursuing a musical career.

He lives in in Morgantown with his wife, Jane, and their son.

Other Benedum awards/lecture ceremonies:

  • Tuesday, April 3 �€Linda Butler, award in biosciences and health sciences, Diversity of Forest Insects and Impact of Management Practices , 4 p.m., Mountainlair, Rhododendron Room

  • Tuesday, April 17 �€Mark Koepke, award in physical sciences and technology, Stormy Weather in Space , 4 p.m., Mountainlair, Rhododendron Room

All Benedum Distinguished Scholars will be recognized at a special ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, April 6, in the Mountainlair Ballroom as part of WVU s Weekend of Honors.  

The Benedum and Distinguished Professors of WVU established the Benedum Distinguished Scholar Awards in 1985-86 to honor and reward University faculty for excellence in research, scholarship or creative endeavors. The awards recognize either a single recent achievement of note or a long, distinguished career that is still ongoing.

The program is funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and coordinated by the Office of Academic Affairs and Research.