Grab your lunch and join us virtually on April 8th at 12pm for our first annual Humanities Awards Luncheon. Due to restrictions on large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, this event will take place virtually. 

Join us for a celebration of the accomplishments of six Missourians in the areas of Excellence in Education, Exemplary Community Achievement, Literary Achievement, and Partnership in the Humanities. This will be our 30th anniversary of distributing Humanities Awards, and our first annual Humanities Awards Luncheon. Our 2020 Humanities Awards winners were announced at our Gala in October, and we look forward to celebrating these recipients and the humanities in Missouri over the past year.

Date: April 8th, 2021,
Time: 12:00 P.M. to 1:00 P.M.
Location: Virtually (Along with an In-Person Invite-Only Event… to Be Announced)

The program will begin promptly at noon. 

*** Please note that the date for the Awards Luncheon has changed to April 8th.

Excellence in Education

The Excellence in Education award recognizes an educator or team of educators who have demonstrated an exceptional impact in their field and for exhibiting outstanding efforts that inspire students and engage the general public.  The winner of this year’s Humanities Award for Excellence in Education is: Dr. Christopher Panza, Dr. Ted Vaggalis, and Dr. Peter Browning, from the Department of History, Philosophy & Religion at Drury University. This team of three professors has come together to create a unique class on philosophy and religion, bringing together not only Drury students, faculty, and staff, but inviting members of the general public throughout the Springfield area.  The course covers facets of classical, modern, and contemporary philosophers and fosters not only joy in exchanging ideas with others, but has engendered friendship, discourse, and understanding in the Springfield community.

Exemplary Community Achievement –

The Exemplary Community Achievement award highlights an individual or organization that supports and encourages community betterment through a variety of unique and instrumental approaches.  The winner of this year’s Humanities Award for Exemplary Community Achievement is: Axel Fuentes.  Axel Fuentes has been a community activist and organizer specializing in helping immigrants in mid-Missouri for the past 13 years. He has been a schoolteacher, a volunteer, a tutor, and has been an essential force in organizing festivals highlighting Latino and Congolese music, food, or dance. Axel has been a leader to those seeking mutual understanding and just treatment for workers in Mid-Missouri.

Literary Achievement

The Literary Achievement award recognizes the scholastic accomplishments of an individual in the area of the humanities.  The winner of this year’s Humanities Award for Literary Achievement is Vivian Gibson.  Vivian Gibson tells the story of St. Louisans in the neighborhood of the Mill Creek Valley through the 1940’s and 1950’s in her book, “The Last Children of Mill Creek.” Vivians book explores all of the wonderful people and events in those blocks, schools, porches, and churches. Her retelling, through the eyes of a growing girl, makes the people of that community so real, and human. This book helps us understand each other better, and helps us to connect to one another.

Partnership in the Humanities

The Partnership in the Humanities award is chosen by the staff of Missouri Humanities, and is awarded to an organization who has shown exceptional support and symbiosis with our mission, directly helping us succeed in expanding the humanities throughout the state.  This year, we are honored to recognize an organization that has been dedicated, above all, to preserving the Humanities in Missouri. Their mission goes hand-in-hand with ours and we are honored to present this award to Friends of the Governor’s Mansion.