2019 Celebration of the Humanities

October 17, 2019 @ 5:30PM — 8:00PM

Join us at this high-profile gathering of the Rhode Island community as we honor lifetime and creative achievement, innovation, and public humanities scholarship. Proceeds support the Humanities Council to strengthen public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders.

2019 Celebration of the Humanities image

Get your tickets or sponsor the Celebration today!

There are currently no tickets available for this event, but you can still make a donation.


The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities will honor The White Family, Silaphone Nhongvongsouthy, Edible Schoolyard at Green Animals Topiary Garden, and Joe Wilson, Jr. at the 2019 Celebration of the Humanities in October.

The White Family, including John Hazen White, Jr., Liz White, and their sons John III and Ben, will receive the Honorary Chairs’ Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities. Silaphone Nhongvongsouthy, an intercultural program developer and leader of the Laotian Community Center, will be awarded the Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities. The Innovation in the Humanities Award will be presented to the Edible Schoolyard at Green Animals Topiary Garden, a historic house and landscape in Portsmouth, RI, managed by the Preservation Society of Newport County. Joe Wilson, Jr., educator, advocate, and actor, will receive the Public Humanities Scholar Award for the ways he integrates scholarship, education, and advocacy with his acting practice, highlighting the importance of civic life and amplifying the voices and stories of underrepresented communities in the public sphere.

“These inspired leaders exemplify this year’s Celebration theme of IMAGINE at a time when our society is yearning for positive pathways to the future,” said Elizabeth Francis, executive director of the Humanities Council. “Their philanthropic legacy, recognition of the value of cultural heritage, imaginative uses of historic spaces, collaborative spirit, and engaged scholarship showcase how the humanities can be used to imagine new paths.”

The Celebration will take place Thursday, October 17, 2019, at the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel. The occasion will gather nonprofit, government, legal, higher education, and business leaders, scholars, and community members from across the state. The awards presentation will be accompanied by a reception with hors d’oeuvres and an open wine bar provided by Campus Fine Wines, as well as a silent auction featuring unique humanities experiences.

Opportunities for sponsorships and event program ads are available now as well as individual tickets. Proceeds benefit public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. Sponsorship levels and benefits are detailed

Sponsorship Deadlines:

Invitation Inclusion: August 1
Program Inclusion: October 1

*When purchasing a sponsorship, you will have an opportunity to enter guest names. If you do not know this information yet, you may skip this section and the Council staff will be in touch in September for guest details.

To purchase Presenter, Connector, and/or Champion level sponsorships, please contact Rachael Jeffers at 401-273-2250 or rachael@rihumanities.org

5:30-6:30pm Pre-reception with Honorees
6:30-8:30pm Celebration Reception and Award Presentation

Honorary Chairs:
Francis Parra & Gonzalo Cuervo

Event Co-Chairs:
Touba Ghadessi & John Richard, Jessica L. Weinstein & Aaron Q. Weinstein

Event Committee:

Becca Bertrand, Diana DeCesaris Champa, Liz Crawford, Betsy Cronin, Morgan Devlin, Elaine B. Fain, Elizabeth Francis, Holly Gaboriault, Rachael Jeffers, Dennise M. Kowalczyk, Cat Laine, Jean Patiky, Taylor Polites, Maureen Reddy, Rebecca R. Riley, Jodie Vinson, Jillian Winters