UGA president, Vinson Institute employee receive Governor’s Awards in the Humanities

UGA president, Vinson Institute employee receive Governor's Awards in the Humanities

Athens, Ga. – Michael F. Adams, president of the University of Georgia, and Mary Stakes, a retiring senior public service associate from the Carl Vinson Institute of UGA, recently received 2009 Governor’s Awards in the Humanities and were honored at the 24th Governor’s Awards in the Humanities luncheon, in Atlanta on May 7.

Adams received the award for his dedication to humanities based programs and projects at the University of Georgia and in the state. He was recognized for his leadership in historic preservation of the UGA campus and the impact that preservation has had in the campus culture and in the broader community. Stakes received the award for her continuing efforts to educate classroom teachers about Georgia history, government and civics.

“I am pleased to accept this award on behalf of the many people at UGA who work hard every day in the field of the humanities,” said Adams. “I firmly believe that the humanities are the foundation of a good education and that America’s first state-chartered university should be a leader in this area.”

Adams has been a champion for a variety of humanities activities since arriving in Athens in 1997 to serve as the president of UGA. He has revived the intercollegiate debate program, supported UGA’s involvement in the development of the New Georgia Encyclopedia and emphasized writing as critical to the undergraduate curriculum.

He has guided the development and implementation of a Campus Master Plan that emphasizes historic preservation and the creation of a learning environment that promotes intellectual curiosity. Under his leadership, restored buildings and green spaces serve as teaching tools for history, architecture, landscape design and related disciplines. Students, faculty, staff and visitors see Georgia’s history through these facilities.

“I am honored to be recognized in such an important way by those who believe so strongly that humanities and culture should play an active role in the lives of all Georgians,” said Stakes.

For 30 years, Stakes has organized learning opportunities and summer teacher institutes for Georgia Teachers. She has obtained grant funding to enable teachers to attend conferences, such as “The Carter Presidency: Lessons for the 21st Century.” She has volunteered with the Georgia Council for the Social Studies and for the past five years has coordinated the Center for Civic Education’s “We the People: Project Citizen” program. She also is the co-author of The Georgia Studies Book, a textbook for the 8th grade, now in its third edition, and has published many teaching manuals, lesson plans and multimedia resources to assist teachers in meeting curriculum standards.

“Dr. Adams and Ms. Stakes have made an important contribution to Georgia through sharing our state’s stories and traditions with Georgia teachers,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “I congratulate each of these awardees on their significant achievements.”

Adams and Stakes were among 10 award recipients. A complete list of recipients is available at http://www.georgiahumanities.org/programs/gov/awards.html. Recipients of the Governor’s Awards are nominated by the public, reviewed by a committee of the Georgia Humanities Council board and approved ultimately by the governor.

“These individuals and organizations build community, character and citizenship in our state through their efforts,” said Jamil S. Zainaldin, president of the Georgia Humanities Council.

The Georgia Humanities Council (www.georgiahumanities.org) is a nonprofit organization that works to ensure humanities and culture remain integral to the lives of Georgians. The Council helps Georgians understand history, traditions, ideas and stories from the past, to better understand the present and make improved decisions for the future.

Governed by a board of directors of civic, business and academic leaders, the Georgia Humanities Council is funded by private corporations, individuals, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Georgia.