SC Humanities is pleased to announce that three extraordinary South Carolina individuals and one university will be recipients of this year's annual Governor's Awards in the Humanities, presented at a luncheon to be held on October 8, 2009 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The four recipients are: Dr. Ruby "Bela" Padgette Herlong, South Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1967; Dr. Joseph Taylor Stukes, longstanding university professor at Lander University, Erskine College, and Francis Marion University; Dr. David S. Shields, McClintock Professor of Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina; and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Claflin University, Orangeburg.
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 1991-2008, forty-nine awards have been presented. SC Humanities is completing its 36th year as the state-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Ruby "Bela" Padgette Herlong devoted 46 years of service to teaching in Saluda classrooms, impacting thousands of lives. With a bachelors degree from Winthrop University, and a MA and PhD from the University of South Carolina (dissertation on Southern writer Eudora Welty), Herlong was South Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1967 and one of five finalists for National Teacher of the Year. In 1967, she and other colleagues started the literary magazine at Saluda High School called "The Prism." The magazine contains poetry, fiction, essays, and art works by students. Ultimately, Dr. Herlong, working with colleague Gloria Caldwell, developed performance pieces from the magazine and presented them to the community in community theatre. "The Prism" won many state, regional, and national awards for scholastic publishing. Outside of the classroom, residents of Saluda County know Dr. Herlong for her efforts to build institutions to document, preserve, and highlight the heritage and culture of this rural area. She was a founder and president for many years of the Saluda County Historical Society. She wrote about Saluda and Saluda County for the widely utilized South Carolina Encyclopedia and still is the county's representative to the National Heritage Corridor Board. Dr. Herlong is recognized as a marvelous teacher and student of literature and also as one who understands that history grounds a person and makes them an effective citizen. She has utilized and embodied the humanities in drawing attention to the significance of this small area of South Carolina.
Dr. Joseph Taylor Stukes has devoted his professional life to education, particularly humanities-based education. Stukes has taught at Darlington School for Boys, Presbyterian Junior College, Lander University, and Erskine College, and from 1974-1996 he was Professor and Chair of the Francis Marion History Department. With degrees from Davidson College and Emory University, Stukes received his PhD in History from the University of South Carolina. Because of his teaching excellence, there is an endowed Stukes Lecture Series at Erskine. Since 1971, Stukes has conducted travel-study courses and tours that include historical programs in Europe. Hundreds have accompanied him on these trips. Since 1974 Stukes has conducted historical monologues of prominent South Carolina figures such as Francis Marion and Joel Poinsett. As a member of SC Humanities's Speakers Bureau program, Stukes has recreated these Chautauqua figures throughout the state. He has performed at the Greenville Chautauqua and has his own series in Florence, the "Joe Stukes History Series," sponsored by Friends of Florence County Library and First Federal. He has written numerous articles for the Florence Morning News. A past-president of the South Carolina Historical Association, Stukes is in the Academic Hall of Fame at Erskine College.
Dr. David S. Shields has published exceptionally distinguished and influential scholarship in multiple humanities disciplines, including early American literature, epistolary and print culture in the United States (from the earliest times), early American cuisine and foodways, and the foundations of motion picture still photography and the emergence of Hollywood glamour. He has also focused on southern regionalism, including the agriculture, historical landscapes, and economic constraints that shaped South Carolina's cultural destiny. A graduate of the College of William & Mary with graduate degrees from Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of Chicago, Shields has taught as a faculty member at Vassar College, The Citadel, and the University of South Carolina. Among the books he has written, co-authored, or edited are: Oracles of Empire: Poetry, Commerce, and Politics in British America, 1690-1750, Civil Tongues and Polite Letters in British America, and the forthcoming The Silent Mirror: Silent Motion Picture Portrait and Still Photography. He has also written on Carolina Gold Rice and wine production in the American South. He recently collected and donated to the University of South Carolina a unique archive of Russian piano scores from 1880-1930, and he composed the contents of the Broadway Photographs website, which has received more than one million hits: http://broadway.cas.sc.edu/. He truly has an outstanding record of impassioned teaching and scholarship during his career in Charleston and Columbia.
For over a decade, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Claflin University has provided quality programs in the humanities free of cost to the public in the greater Orangeburg community and in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina. All six departments in this school provide free public programs. The annual Lyceum program brings well-known artists and performers to Orangeburg; among recent artists appearing were Ossie Davis, Danny Glover, Gwendolyn Brooks, Omar Tyree, M.C. Hammer, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Tretheway. The school also holds an annual poetry-writing competition and selects a poet laureate. It organizes an annual humanities festival in which high school students from rural counties compete in humanities disciplines for scholarships. Other annual activities include: a regional conference for educators and students in the language arts, a traveling performance company that educates and entertains underserved youth, local television shows produced on campus that address Orangeburg community issues such as health and law enforcement, a fall lecture series in philosophy and religion, arts exhibits, and public service programs for senior citizens. Claflin University is a leader in the community in terms of educational and cultural service.
To learn more about the Governor's Awards in the Humanities and see a complete list of the previous forty-nine recipients, please follow the link to the Governor's Awards in the Humanities page of SC Humanities Web site.