We are happy to announce the recipients of the 2023 Governor’s Awards in the Humanities. The foundation will honor four individuals for their commitments to education, civil and human rights, community development and philanthropy on September 28 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
Presented in partnership with Governor Maura Healey, Mass Humanities will recognize Margaret Burnham, Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Kumble Subbaswamy and Elizabeth Bacon for their contributions to the humanities and improving public life in Massachusetts.
“Massachusetts is home to a thriving humanities sector that makes our state more enlightened, innovative and inclusive,” said Governor Healey. “I’m proud to present the Governor’s Awards in the Humanities to these four leaders in recognition of the exceptional contributions they have made in education, history, community development, philanthropy, civil rights and more. I’m also grateful to the Mass Humanities Board for their partnership and the incredible work they do to expand opportunities across our state.”
- Margaret Burnham, of Boston, is an internationally recognized expert on civil and human rights, comparative constitutional rights, and international criminal law. As a University Distinguished Professor of Law at Northeastern University, she is the founder and director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern and the first African American Judge in Massachusetts. Burnham is being honored for her dedication to exploring history, illuminating truth and confronting injustice in order to protect civil and human rights locally, nationally and internationally.
- Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, of Boston, is the CEO of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, Boston. She has had a long and multifaceted career demonstrating a commitment to the humanities within education, community development, and philanthropy in Boston and across the state. Calderón-Rosado is being honored for her work that actively promotes Latinx culture and builds community through the arts in Boston’s South End and for her contributions to shaping a more equitable philanthropic ecosystem in Massachusetts.
- Kumble Subbaswamy, of Amherst, is the retiring Chancellor of UMass Amherst and a committed public education advocate. Subbaswamy is being honored for his commitment to education and transformative work at UMass Amherst. His work building a campus culture centered on social responsibility and inclusiveness are essential elements in the humanities.
- Elizabeth Bacon, of Worcester, is the coordinator of the Clemente Course in the Humanities, Worcester. She is also serving as President for the Worcester County Poetry Association. Bacon has been a long-time leader, on-the-ground coordinator, and advocate in the humanities. Her extensive contributions to the humanities includes her work at This is MYCity! and Worcester’s Blackstone Canal Horse and Wagon Tours. Bacon is being honored for her excellence in using history as a tool for community development and economic empowerment and tirelessly advocating for the humanities in her home city and across the state.