Each year, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities honors Louisianians who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities. Individuals, institutions or organizations may submit nominations. Individuals, however, may not nominate themselves. Letters of nomination should not exceed two pages and should detail specific accomplishments that qualify the nominee for the award. A vita and other letters of support should accompany the letter of nomination.
This year, the awards dinner was presented by Entergy Louisiana on April 13, 2017 in Baton Rouge, LA. Featured speakers included 2017 Humanist of the Year William Joyce, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, National Endowment for the Humanities Chair William D. Adams and Sharon Weston Broome, mayor of Baton Rouge.
William Joyce has achieved worldwide recognition as an author, illustrator and pioneer in the digital and animation industry. In 2009, he co-founded Moonbot Studios, a multimedia storytelling company, exploring books, apps, films and video games. The studio’s projects have won multiple awards and accolades, including an Oscar for Best Animated Short, Annie Award, multiple Webby and Emmy Awards and inclusion in the iTunes App Store Hall of Fame. Joyce has nearly 50 books to his credit and was named by Newsweek as “one of the 100 people to watch in the new millennium.” He has also produced, written and designed projects with nearly every major film studio including BlueSky, Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Twentieth Century Fox and Pixar. His feature films, all based on his books, include “Epic,” “Rise of the Guardians,” “Robots,” and “Meet the Robinsons.” His television series include, “George Shrinks” and “Rolie Polie Olie,” for which Joyce has won five Emmy awards, three Silver medals and one Gold medal from the Society of Illustrators.
In addition to Joyce, the LEH named these individuals and organizations as 2017 awardees:
Chair’s Institutional Award went to Carolyn W. and Charles T. Beaird Family Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Champion of Culture Award went to Dr. William D. Adams, 10th chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Humanities Books Award went to Teche: A History of Louisiana’s Most Famous Bayou by Shane K. Bernard and Hard Scrabble to Hallelujah, Volume 1: Bayou Terrebonne, Legacies of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana by Christopher Everette Cenac with Claire Domangue.
Humanities Documentary Film Award went to David Hylan and Raydra Hall’s Small Town Rage: Fighting Back in the Deep South, a powerful documentary of the Shreveport chapter of the Act Up activist group during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and early 90s.
Michael P. Smith Memorial Award for Documentary Photography went to a New Orleans native who now lives in Atlanta, Eric Waters.
Light Up for Literary Award went to Richard Louth, professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University and Founding Director of the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project.
Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities award went to Susan Tucker who served as the Curator of Books and Records at the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women from 1988 to 2015. An author, activist, and editor, Tucker has produced and supported a breadth of scholarship that has broadened the rich history and literature of Louisiana.
Distinguished Board Service award went to Phil Earhart and Michael Bernstein.