January 12, 2016
Given annually by Illinois Humanities since 1984, the Public Humanities Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have helped transform lives and have strengthened communities through the humanities
CHICAGO, IL—January 12, 2015—Illinois Humanities is proud to announce that it will honor Dr. Walter E. Massey, the President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), with the 2016 Public Humanities Award at its annual benefit luncheon on Thursday, May 19 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago
Given annually by Illinois Humanities since 1984, the Public Humanities Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have helped transform lives and have strengthened communities through the humanities.
Throughout his career as a scientist and an educator, Massey has championed the development of creativity in young people, has increased access to education, and has strengthened the ties between the humanities and the sciences.
“Walter is a beloved figure in Chicago,” said Angel Ysaguirre, the Executive Director of Illinois Humanities. “The respect that he has earned from the cultural, civic, and corporate leaders of this city is a testament to his belief in the importance of the humanities to the strength of our civic life and the need for providing access to all people.”
Massey began his career as a theoretical physicist, teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Brown University. Moving into education administration, Massey served as the Director of Argonne National Laboratory and, from 1991 to 1993, served as Director of the National Science Foundation. Later, Massey returned to Morehouse College, his alma mater, where he served as President for over a decade.
Since 2010, Massey has served as President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), a global leader in art and design education. During his tenure, he has increased student scholarships and further diversified the campus through initiatives like the Walter and Shirley Massey Chicago Fund and the College Arts Access Program, both of which provide opportunities for Chicago Public School students. He also has broadened SAIC’s outreach to new institutional partners across the arts, higher education, and business communities. Most recently, Massey recently announced a SAIC’s long-term commitment to engage Chicago communities with the launch of programming at the newly-renovated Nichols Tower in North Lawndale. Massey will step down on June 30 after a successful six-year presidency and will assume the position of chancellor of the School on July 1. In this role, Massey will focus on fundraising initiatives and other outreach efforts on behalf of SAIC.
Massey has been honored with honorary degrees from 39 universities, including Yale, Northwestern, Ohio State, Columbia, and Brown, and is also a Trustee Emeritus of the University of Chicago and Brown University. In the civic and philanthropic sectors, Massey has served on the boards of the Mellon Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Commonwealth Fund, Smithsonian Institution, and the Salzburg Global Seminar, in addition to a number of other organizations committed to the advancement of science and technology, diversity in education, and the arts and culture.
“Walter Massey exemplifies the best of the humanities — a scholar, civic leader and caring public servant who, throughout his career, has found ways to unite the worlds of science, the arts, community and academia,” said Amina Dickerson, President of Dickerson Global Advisors. “I’m thrilled that he will receive this honor as he is so deserving of this recognition.”
Amina Dickerson is serving as a co-chair of the award ceremony alongside Mae Hong, who is a Vice President at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Past PHA awardees have included Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871; Lisa Lee, the Director of the School of Art and Art History at UIC; cultural patrons David Herro and Jay Franke; the Honorable Abner and Zoe Mikva; publisher Bruce Sagan and artist Bette Cerf Hill; Carlos Tortolero, the founder of the National Museum of Mexican Art; Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, head of Boeing’s corporate citizenship program; and John A. Wing, Chairman Emeritus of the Chicago Corporation.
The Public Humanities Award Luncheon will take place Thursday, May 19 at the Palmer House Hilton Chicago (17 E. Monroe St.) in Chicago, Illinois. Doors open at 11:00am and the program begins at 12:00pm. For sponsorship opportunities, including the purchase of tables, please call Liesl Pereira at 312.422.5584 or visit www.ILhumanities.org/PHA. All proceeds from the luncheon will support the programs of Illinois Humanities.