2013 Governor’s Awards in the Humanities Announced

SC Humanities  is pleased to announce that three extraordinary South Carolina individuals will be recipients of this year’s annual Governor’s Awards in the Humanities, presented at the AHA! Arts and Humanities Award Gala to be held October 17, 2013 at the Palmetto Club in Columbia, SC.  The three recipients are: Dr. Mary Ann Kohli, English Instructor at Trident Technical College; Ron Rash, award-winning author and John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University; and Dr. Stephen Wise, Director of the Parris Island Museum.

Established in 1991, the Governor’s Awards in the Humanities recognize outstanding achievement in humanities research, teaching, and scholarship; institutional and individual participation in community-based programs that promote public understanding of ideas and issues related to the humanities; excellence defining South Carolina’s cultural life to the nation or world; and exemplary support for public humanities programs.  From 1991-2012, sixty-two awards have been presented.  SC Humanities is completing its 40th year as the state-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Mary Ann Kohli



Dr. Mary Ann Kohli is founder and director of the Charleston Clemente Course, hosted by Trident Technical College.  This course offers two free college-level humanities courses to the homeless and disenfranchised.  She is founder of the Charleston Socrates Café, a public Socratic dialogue that meets twice a month; and of the Southern Artists Celebratory Series, an annual Piccolo Spoleto event that celebrates a different southern artist each year.  With degrees from Winthrop University and the University of South Carolina, she has taught the past fourteen years at Trident Technical College.  She is a member of the Charleston Rotary Club and the MUSC Humanities Committee. She is creator of the free series Unleashing the Power of Myth.  She has been named the South Carolina Technical Education Association’s Teacher of the Year, and won the Service Learning Award from the South Carolina Commission of Higher Education.


Ron Rash


Ron Rash is John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University.  Through a writing career spanning more than thirty years, Rash has become one of South Carolina’s leading contemporary writers. He is author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel, Serena, in addition to three other prizewinning novels, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight.  He also has authored three collections of poems and four collections of stories, among them   Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O-Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award.  Rash has twice won the prestigious O. Henry Prize, and has been inducted into the South Carolina Academy of Authors.   A graduate of Gardner-Webb University and Clemson University, Rash is an imcomparable storyteller whose novels, short stories, and poems show us as we are and as we might become.  Image credited to Mark Haskett



Stephen Wise


Dr. Stephen Wise is director of the Parris Island Museum and Cultural Resource Manager for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island.  He also teaches at USC Beaufort.  Among his written or edited works are Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the Civil War and Gate of Hell: The Campaign for Charleston Harbor 1863.  He wrote the screen narrative for the Gilded Age Productions film “American Illiad: The Siege of Charleston, a docufilm on the Civil War in Charleston.  A well-known lecturer, Wise has been the featured speaker on passenger liners and cruises and has appeared on the Arts and Entertainment Channel, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and on public television.  He has conducted numerous lowcountry history tours and was chief contributor to the local commemoration of the 1863 attack of the Mass. 54th Regiment on Battery Wagner.  With degrees from Wittenberg University, Bowling Green State University, and the University of South Carolina, Wise has won awards of excellence from the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of Defense.  He is currently on the board of the Beaufort County Historical Society and the editorial board of the South Carolina Historical Society.



The 2013 awardees will be honored at the AHA! Arts and Humanities Awards Gala on October 17, 2013 at the Palmetto Club in Columbia from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. The event is presented in partnership by SC Humanities and the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties, organizations who both have missions to support cultural activities in South Carolina. The Cultural Council will also be giving their annual awards that evening.

Limited sponsorships and individual tickets are available to the AHA! Gala. For more information or reservations, contact: Norree Boyd-Wicks, Cultural Council Executive Director at 803-799-3115 or norree@smartarts.info


To learn more about the Governor's Awards in the Humanities and to see a complete list of the previous sixty-two recipients, please follow the link to the Governor's Awards in the Humanities page of SC Humanities website.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. SC Humanities programs and initiatives are balanced, reflecting sensitivity to the diversity of ideas, encourage open dialogue, demonstrate integrity, and are ethical in operations.