Edwin Graves Wilson to Receive Humanities Council’s Top Honor

Edwin Graves Wilson to Receive Humanities Council’s Top Honor

On Thursday, October 30, 2014, at 7:00PM at the Porter Byrum Welcome Center on the campus of Wake Forest University, Edwin Graves Wilson will receive the North Carolina Humanities Council’s highest honor, the John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities. The award recognizes Wilson for his lifelong achievements as an advocate for the public humanities across North Carolina. The Caldwell Award ceremony is free and open to the public.

Helen Vendler, the Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University, will deliver the annual Caldwell Lecture for the Humanities at the event. Vendler has authored works such as Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form (The Clarendon Lectures) and Last Looks, Last Books: Stevens, Plath, Lowell, Bishop, Merrill (The Mellon Lectures).

Affectionately referred to as “Mr. Wake Forest” Wilson, Professor Emeritus of English and Provost Emeritus of Wake Forest University, has spent more than six decades on the Wake Forest University campus, first entering in 1939 for his bachelor of arts degree. After serving three years as an officer in the United States Navy during World War II, Wilson returned to his alma mater as an instructor and was named Professor of English in 1959. Over the years Wilson taught British Romantic Poets and the poetry of Blake, Yeats, and Thomas.

Wilson served as a North Carolina Humanities Council trustee from 1977-1980. He is also active with various arts-related organizations, which include Piedmont Opera Theatre, the Winston-Salem Arts Council, the North Carolina Arts Council, and Reynolda House Museum of American Art. In addition to serving as Wake Forest’s representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Wilson has served as president of the ACC.

In 2004, Wilson received the Medallion of Merit, which is Wake Forest’s highest award for service to the university. Wilson is the recipient of the Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching; the North Carolina Award for Public Service; and the Distinguished Alumni Citation. The university opened a new 53,000-square-foot wing of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library named in his honor.

Mr. Wilson is married to the poet and author Emily Herring Wilson. They are the parents of three children and have four grandchildren.

About the John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities

The John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities, the Council’s highest honor, has been presented annually since its inauguration in 1990. Named for its first recipient, the late Dr. John Caldwell, former chancellor of North Carolina State University from 1959-1975 and a founding member of the Humanities Council, the award pays tribute to individuals whose life and work illuminate one or more of the multiple dimensions of human life where humanities come into play: civic, personal, intellectual, and moral. Past Caldwell Laureates include Louis D. Rubin, Jr., Reynolds Price, Charles Bishop Kuralt, Anne Firor Scott, John Hope Franklin, and, most recently, Russ and Sally Robinson.