IHC Announces Recipients of 2020 Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities Award

The Idaho Humanities Council is pleased to announce that Dr. Hope Benedict, Salmon, and Dr. Mary Reed, Moscow, will receive the 2020 Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities Award.  IHC’s highest honor is awarded annually to recognize a high achievement that fosters greater understanding or appreciation of the humanities.  Each recipient will be honored in a ceremony in their respective hometowns over the summer.

Dr. Hope Benedict is being honored for her lifelong advocacy of public humanities programming, her dedication to community engagement, and her passion for Lemhi County’s history.  Hope has served as the President of the Lemhi County Historical Society for over two decades.  Her organizational leadership rejuvenated the Lemhi County Historical Society and she oversaw the purchase of the Salmon Public Library’s former building to expand educational opportunities in 2020.  Due to her efforts, community engagement through historical tours, exhibits and public programs in Salmon have increased dramatically.

Dr. Mary Reed is being honored for her lifelong commitment to Idaho museums, her tireless support of local history, and her passion for the public humanities. Mary served 23 years as the Executive Director of the Latah County Historical Society (LCHS).  Under her leadership, LCHS became one of the leading local historical societies in the West and she established a modern fundraising program, created a collections policy, and she led efforts to establish LATAH LEGACY, the society’s quarterly newsletter. Reed was also instrumental in the resurrection of the Idaho Association of Museums and served as the organization’s president.

“We are deeply honored to present Hope and Mary with the Idaho Humanities Council’s award for Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities,” said IHC Executive Director David Pettyjohn.  “Their efforts demonstrate the power of the humanities in helping us understand our past and realize our shared humanity. We look forward to celebrating their achievements this summer.”

The Idaho Humanities Council is the statewide, nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities dedicated to promoting greater public understanding of literature, history, ethics, law, and other humanities disciplines.  The Council has presented its award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities” annually since 1986.  Previous recipients of the award include independent historian Keith Petersen, Twin Falls anthropologist James Woods, Idaho Governor Robert E. Smylie, College of Idaho Professor Louie Attebery, State Historian Merle Wells, Constitution scholar David Adler, Idaho historian Arthur Hart, Moscow writer Mary Clearman Blew, ISU English Professor Brian Atteberry, Idaho poet William Studebaker, Nez Perce elder Horace Axtell, former Lewis-Clark State College English Professor Keith Browning, ISU History Professor Ron Hatzenbuehler, Basque Museum and Cultural Center Director Patty Miller, Boise Independent School District Administrator and history teacher Russ Heller, LCSC anthropologist Alan Marshall, Idaho Public Television’s Peter Morrill, College of Idaho archivist and photographer Jan Boles, Idaho State Historical Society Publications Editor Judy Austin, ISU English Professor Susan Swetnam, Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones, ISHS Executive Director Janet Gallimore, Basque Scholar David Lachiondo and others.