Difference makers headline Alabama Humanities Awards Luncheon
When Alabama Humanities Foundation holds its annual awards luncheon Sept. 21 at The Club in Homewood, a common thread will run through it – from speaker to award winners to scholarship recipients. It’s all about making a difference.
Keynote speaker is Andrew Freear, director of Auburn University’s Rural Studio, which has for 21 years been the catalyst for improving housing and other community structures in the poorest parts of Alabama.
AHF’s highest honor – Alabama Humanities Award – will go to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and national radio and television commentator Cynthia Tucker Haynes, whose writing and commentary have deepened understanding on a variety of social issues en route to positive change.
Birmingham lawyer James L. Noles Jr. earned the Wayne Greenhaw Service Award for his leadership on the board at AHF and his successful efforts to establish an endowment that helps make AHF grants and programs possible across Alabama.
Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation will receive the Charitable Organization to the Humanities Award for its work in bettering lives through support of programs that strengthen communities and gives children greater educational opportunities.
The luncheon also will be a time to honor some of Alabama’s top teachers. The winners of the Jenice Riley Memorial Scholarship, given in memory of Gov. Bob Riley’s late daughter, are rewarded for excellence in teaching with scholarships to enhance students’ classroom experiences.
About the speaker
Andrew Freear, from Yorkshire, England, is the Wiatt Professor at Auburn University’s Rural Studio. After the untimely death of Samuel Mockbee, he became director of the Rural Studio in Newbern, Alabama, in 2002. Educated at the Polytechnic of Central London and the Architectural Association, London, England, he has practiced extensively in London and Chicago and taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago and as a Unit Master at the Architectural Association.
Having moved to the state more than a decade ago, he lives in the small, rural community of Newbern in west Alabama, where his main role, aside from directing the Rural Studio, is thesis project advisor to fifth-year undergraduate students and their building projects.
The Rural Studio is a hands-on architectural pedagogy that not only teaches students to design and build charity homes and community projects, but also improves the living conditions in rural west Alabama.
Freear has designed, supervised and built Rural Studio exhibits in Chicago, Cincinnati, Vienna, Austria, Barcelona, Spain, at the 2002 Whitney Biennial in New York, 2005 Sao Paulo Bienal of Architecture in Brazil and at the V&A in London. The Studio’s work has also been exhibited at the 2008 Venice Biennale and at MOMA NYC in 2010.
He has received awards for Distinguished Service to Rural Life from the Rural Sociological Society, the Educator of Distinction Award from the American Society of Interior Designers and from the Architectural Review for Emerging Architects. His work at Rural Studio has been published in Architectural Record, Architectural Review, Progressive Architecture, Dwell, Domus, Abitare and Lotus magazines.
His work is also covered extensively in two books by Andrea Oppenheimer Dean and Timothy Hursley. In May 2014, Freear, Elena Barthel, Dean and Hursley released the third book, Rural Studio at Twenty.
He has lectured across the United States, in Berlin, Sydney, Barcelona and London. In 2006, he received The Ruth and Ralph Erskine Nordic Foundation Award. The award aspires to promote urban planning and architecture, which is functional, economical and beautiful and is to the advantage of underprivileged and deprived groups in any society. He is the first American-based architect to win this prestigious award.
In 2008, he was nominated as one of five laureates in the second edition of the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture. This architecture prize is to honor annually a living architect who moves toward sustainability.
He is married to Elena Barthel of Florence, Italy.
Cynthia Tucker Haynes
Haynes is a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and a popular radio and television commentator. Her weekly column, which appears in newspapers around the country, focuses on political and cultural issues, including income inequality, social justice and reform of the public education system.
Haynes has spent most of her career in newspapers, working as a reporter and editor. For 17 years, she served as editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, overseeing the newspaper’s editorial policies on everything from local elections to foreign affairs. She also worked as a Washington-based political columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
More recently, she was a visiting professor and a Charlayne Hunter-Gault writer-in-residence at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
A graduate of Auburn University, Haynes was a Neiman Fellow at Harvard University in the 1988-89 academic year. She serves on the advisory board of Pro Publica, describing itself as an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
She lives in Mobile with her husband, Dr. Johnson Haynes Jr., and daughter, Carly.
James L. Noles Jr.
A partner in the Birmingham office of the law firm Balch & Bingham LLP, where he practices environmental law, Noles is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and the University of Texas School of Law. Although his father was an Army officer whose assignments took the family to homes around the world, he always considered his parents’ hometown of Florence, Alabama, home.
Noles served on Board of Directors of Alabama Humanities Foundation from 2007 to 2013. During his time on the board, he served as the board’s chairman and also helped spearhead the Foundation’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird. Funds raised during that endeavor formed the initial basis for the establishment of AHF’s current endowment. Continuing his community service, he currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Alabama School of Fine Arts.
Noles is married to the former Elizabeth Klyce, and they have two sons, James and John, who are students in the Mountain Brook school system.
Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation
The Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation has as its aim to “strengthen communities and improve the quality of life in the Birmingham metropolitan area and the state of Alabama.”
It does so through partnerships to create positive outcomes in Education, The Environment, Culture and the Arts, Neighborhood Revitalization and Positioning Strategic Community Assets.
It has extensively supported revitalization efforts in the Woodlawn community of Birmingham and opportunities in the Black Belt of Alabama.
About the Alabama Humanities Foundation
Alabama Humanities Foundation mission is to foster learning, understanding and appreciation of our people, communities and cultures. As the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the AHF supports and offers programs that will enhance the minds and enrich the lives of Alabamians.