Ron Mazellan, a children's book illustrator and professor of art at Indiana Wesleyan University, was named among the winners of the NAACP's 43rd Annual Image Awards on Friday, February 17 in the category of "Outstanding Literary Work - Children."
Mazellan won the award for illustrating the book, You Can Be A Friend, written by Tony and Lauren Dungy. Tony Dungy, a former coach of the Indianapolis Colts, was the 2008 inductee into IWU's Society of World Changers.
Mazellan says he learned he and the Dungys had won by finding their names listed on the Image Award website.
"To see your name on a list with all these other people, it humbles you," Mazellan said, "because you know that you didn't get there by yourself."
The list of winners from this year's award show included actors Viola Davis, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Laurence Fishburne; musicians Jennifer Hudson, Kirk Franklin and Mary J. Blige; and the blockbuster motion picture The Help.
Previous winners in the "Outstanding Literary Work - Children" category have included South African leader Nelson Mandela, actor Will Smith and Christine King Farris, a sister of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Mazellan's most recent book, Irena's Jars of Secrets, also won an award, making the Honor Books category in the 2012 Sydney Taylor Book Awards from the Association of Jewish Libraries.
According to the Image Awards website, "The NAACP Image Awards is the nation's premier multi-cultural awards show celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts (television, recording, literature, motion picture and writing & directing), as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors."
"I just don't take an award like that lightly," Mazellan said, "because I know that God's moved through it, and he's allowed me to participate in it."