President Obama Awards National Humanities Medal to Alumnus Everett L. Fly

September 4, 2015
Alumnus Everett L. Fly receives National Humanities Medal for preserving the integrity of African-American places and landmarks.
 National Humanities Medal. Photo courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

On September 3, 2015, the White House announced the distinguished recipients of the 2014 National Humanities Medal. The awardees include Everett L. Fly [BArch '75], an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture.

President Barack Obama will confer the medal in a September 10 ceremony in the East Room, and award Fly a citation for, "preserving the integrity of African-American places and landmarks." The White House goes on to state that, "a landscape architect, Mr. Fly has worked tirelessly to win historical recognition for Eatonville, Florida, Nicodemus, Kansas, and other sites central to African-American history, preserving an important part of our broader American heritage." The First Lady will also be in attendance during the ceremony, which will be broadcast live at 3 p.m. at:

The National Humanities Medal honors an individual or organization whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens’ engagement with history and literature or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to cultural resources. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) manages the nominations process for the National Humanities Medal on behalf of the White House. Each year NEH invites nominations from individuals and organizations across the country. The National Council on the Humanities, NEH’s presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed advisory body, reviews the nominations and provides recommendations to the President, who selects the recipients.

The first National Humanities Medal was awarded in 1996. Since then, 175 have been bestowed—to 163 individuals and 12 organizations—inclusive of this year’s recipients.

Created as an independent federal agency in 1965, NEH awards grants that support research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities that have resulted in thousands of museums exhibits, scholarly books, films, and radio programs. NEH is celebrating its 50th anniversary beginning September 29.

 “The National Endowment for the Humanities is proud to join President Obama in celebrating the achievements of these distinguished medalists,” said NEH Chairman William Adams. “The recipients of this medal have sparked our imaginations, ignited our passions, and transformed our cultural understanding. They embody how the humanities can serve a common good.”

The full list of  the 10 recipients of the 2014 National Humanities Medal are:

  • The Clemente Course in the Humanities
  • Annie Dillard, author
  • Everett L. Fly, architect and preservationist
  • Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, philosopher and novelist
  • Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, historian
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, short story writer and novelist
  • Fedwa Malti-Douglas, scholar
  • Larry McMurtry, novelist
  • Vicki Lynn Ruiz, historian
  • Alice Waters, author and food activist

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: