Each year the President of the United States celebrates the work of our nation’s humanists at a White House ceremony, awarding a handful of National Humanities Medals.
We are proud to announce that AHA president Vicki L. Ruiz will be among the 10 honorees for this year’s ceremony, to be held September 10. The medal “honors an individual or organization whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens’ engagement with history and literature or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to cultural resources.” The many scholars, students, and members of the general public who have enjoyed working with Vicki know that she has done all of these, always with good humor and generous collegiality. We congratulate her on the honor, and we congratulate President Obama’s staff on the wisdom of their selection.
In according this honor to Professor Ruiz and other historians, the White House also recognizes the central role historians play in American public culture. Joining Prof. Ruiz as a 2014 medalist is historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. Since inaugurating the National Humanities Medal in 1997, the White House has presented this award to many of our colleagues, acknowledging the enduring fact that everything has a history.
Vicki L. Ruiz serves as the 2015 president of the American Historical Association. She is Distinguished Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Her presidential address at the upcoming annual meeting in Atlanta (January 2016) will reflect her ongoing influence in the histories of feminism and cross-cultural experiences in the United States, and the centrality of those histories to a range of issues in our discipline.
For a full list of the 2014 recipients of the National Humanities Medal, please see the announcement from the National Endowment for the Humanities. We are grateful to our colleagues at the NEH for their role in the selection process and the ceremony on September 10.