Celebrated annually since 1986, the Governor's Awards in the Humanities honor individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the humanities in Georgia. Organized by the Georgia Humanities Council, the awards ceremony is held in Atlanta and attended by the governor, who presents the awards to each honoree. Prior to the ceremony, a distinguished speaker delivers the Annual Humanities Lecture, which is free and open to the public.
On May 7, 2009, the Humanities Lecture was given by historian Orville Vernon Burton, author of The Age of Lincoln (2007). Burton's lecture commemorated the bicentennial of U.S. president Abraham Lincoln's birth in 2009 and anticipated the sesquicentennial of the Civil War (1861-65) in Georgia, which begins in 2011. Following the lecture, Tommy Hills, the chief financial officer of Georgia and representative for Governor Sonny Perdue, presented the following organization and nine individuals with awards.
The Georgia Archives in Morrow is honored for ninety years of providing researchers with access to the state's government records. The archives is also recognized for its efforts to make documents available online through Georgia's Virtual Vault and through collaborations with the New Georgia Encyclopedia and the Digital Library of Georgia.
Brenda S. Banks, a retired archivist at the Georgia Archives, is honored for thirty years of leadership in her field. Recently she has served as a consultant for the Morehouse King Collection, a collection of Martin Luther King Jr.'s papers owned by Morehouse College.
Martine W. Browley, a professor of English at Emory University in Atlanta, is honored for thirty years of teaching, as well as her work with the Committee for the Humanities in Georgia and the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry.
Caroline Crittenden, a volunteer with the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association in White County, is honored for her ten-year effort to document the folkways and storytelling traditions of the rural Bean Creek Community.
Karen Huebner, a historic preservationist in Atlanta, is honored for twenty years of leadership with the Urban Design Commission, particularly for her implementation of Atlanta's Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan.
Terry Kay, a renowned writer in Athens, is honored for his literary accomplishments, which include ten novels and numerous short stories and essays. He is also recognized for mentoring emerging writers in the state.
Paul Pressly, a Savannah educator, is honored for his accomplishments as headmaster of Savannah Country Day School and as the developer of public education programs for the Ossabaw Island Foundation, which seeks to preserve and protect Ossabaw Island.
Mary E. Stakes, an educator at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government in Athens, is honored for thirty years of supporting Georgia's teachers through her coauthorship of The Georgia Studies Book, as well as the development of classroom resources and summer institutes for social studies educators.
Kathleen Thompson, an oral historian and retired educator from Blue Ridge, is honored for her efforts to preserve the heritage of Fannin County and surrounding mountains through her teaching, her founding membership in the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts and Heritage Association, and the publication of two oral history compilations.
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.