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Published April 05, 2019
For the past several years, Wyoming Humanities has partnered with the University of Wyoming to pursue shared goals and help build a shared commitment to supporting Wyoming communities.
That statewide commitment has earned Wyoming Humanities UW’s Marvin Millgate Excellence in Community Partnership Award.
“This award specifically honors organizations that partner with UW to enhance shared goals and help build our shared commitment to support the communities we serve,” says Paul Flesher, the interim UW Office of Engagement and Outreach director, which sponsors the Millgate awards. “This is UW’s top award honoring excellence in community partnership.”
The Marvin Millgate Community Engagement Awards were established by President Laurie Nichols and Provost Kate Miller, in cooperation with UW’s Engagement Task Force, to recognize collaborative teaching and research that extend beyond the UW campus. The selected honorees each receive $1,000, which may be used to fund additional engagement work by the recipients.
“With these awards, we acknowledge that community engagement is an integral component of UW’s land-grant mission and honor those faculty, staff, students and partners whose collaborations involve the exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of reciprocity with the citizens and institutions of Wyoming, the nation and the world,” Flesher says.
Scott Henkel, UW’s Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research (WIHR) director, who nominated Wyoming Humanities for the award, cites one example of the organization’s commitment in bringing programs to the state. In response to the Wyoming Legislature’s 2017 Indian Education for All Act, Wyoming Humanities raised money for projects to increase awareness about American Indian history and culture in Wyoming.
The organization’s “Two Nations, One Reservation” is in more than 125 libraries, schools, museums and other public sites around Wyoming.
For nearly 10 years, UW’s popular one-day lecture series -- Saturday University -- has counted on Wyoming Humanities as one of its longtime sponsors.
In fact, the idea for Saturday University -- bringing three UW faculty members to a Wyoming community for a set of morning lectures and interaction with local residents -- actually originated with a former Wyoming Humanities board member.
The program has grown from three presentations -- all in Jackson -- to 12 events per year in eight Wyoming communities.
“It was Wyoming Humanities who made it possible, event after event,” says Flesher, who is the faculty director of Saturday University. “Through their willingness to partner with the university, they made it possible for the university to partner with small organizations across Wyoming to bring them programs that their local communities wanted.”
UW Professor Jeff Lockwood, another nominator, praised Wyoming Humanities’ sponsorship of statewide projects, such as the unique “Ucross Project” that brought artists and scientists together to work on interdisciplinary projects; and the creative “Locust: The Opera,” created by UW faculty members.
“Wyoming Humanities Executive Director Shannon Smith and her staff had the intellectual leadership and creative capacity to foster the integration of art and science into public expressions of what it means to be human in a living, seething world,” Lockwood says.
Dana Robertson, the executive director of UW’s Literacy Research Center and Clinic, received this year’s Marvin Millgate Engaged Faculty Award; Susan Jerke, a regional director of the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network, received the Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff Award; and the Marvin Millgate Engaged Student Award was won by Annaliese Fitzsimmons, of Greybull.