Herman Beavers Wins Judith Rodin Education Award and Randy Martin Spirit Award

Herman Beavers

Herman Beavers, Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt President’s Distinguished Professor of English and Africana Studies, has received the 2023 Judith Rodin Education Award and the 2023 Randy Martin Spirit Award.

The Judith Rodin Education Award is one of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Involvement Recognition Awards, announced at Penn’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Symposium on Social Change. The awards honor members of the Philadelphia community whose engagement and active service to others exemplify the ideals King espoused, including the recognition that local engagement is essential to the struggle for equality. Beavers is committed to finding innovative ways for students to engage with nearby residents. His long-running Arts-Based Community Service course, titled “August Wilson and Beyond,” brings Penn students together with West Philadelphia residents to read August Wilson’s Century Cycle of plays.

The Randy Martin Spirit Award is presented each year by Imagining America, a consortium of colleges and universities committed to public engagement in the arts, humanities, and design. The award recognizes an individual who embodies the unique combination of qualities that made Randy Martin, Professor of Art and Policy in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, a beloved and valued member of the Imagining America community.

Beavers is a distinguished poet and a widely published scholar of 20th-century American and African American literature, especially the novels of Toni Morrison, the traditions of jazz and jazz writing, and the work of 20th-century Southern writers. He received the Penn Arts & Sciences Dean’s Award for Mentoring Undergraduate Research in 2017, and in 2021 received the 2021 Charles Ludwig Distinguished Teaching Award. He has served in many roles at Penn, including graduate and undergraduate chair of Africana Studies and director of the English Department Honors Program. He was recently appointed as faculty director of Civic House and the Civic Scholars Program.


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