Western Carolina University is accepting nominations for the Mountain Heritage Award, an honor bestowed annually on one individual and one organization that has played a prominent role in the preservation or interpretation of Southern Appalachian history and culture.
Nominations for the award will be accepted through Monday, June 24.
The university instituted the Mountain Heritage Award in 1976, and the first recipient was the late writer and journalist John Parris. Many of the icons of Western North Carolina’s traditional culture have received the award over the years, including Cherokee potter Amanda Swimmer, photographer and conservationist Hugh Morton and organizations such as the Old Buncombe Genealogical Society, the Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Church Choir and the John C. Campbell Folk School.
“Beginning with the award’s inception in 1976 and continuing through 2006, WCU gave out one Mountain Heritage Award each year,” said Scott Philyaw, director of the university’s Mountain Heritage Center and chairman of the awards committee. “Because the contributions of individuals are often different from that of groups and organizations, making direct comparisons difficult, the university’s awards committee decided to begin giving out two awards in 2007 – one to an individual and one to an organization.”
The awards are presented at Mountain Heritage Day, the university’s celebration of traditional Appalachian culture that takes place on the last Saturday each September.
Letters of nomination should not exceed five pages and should include the full name of the individual or organization being nominated, with a website address if applicable; the mailing address of the nominee; the nominee’s birth date or founding date; a list of the nominee’s accomplishments; a list of the awards and other recognitions received by the nominee; information about the nominee’s influence in the relevant field of expertise (such as crafts, music or organizational cause); and information about the nominee’s role as a teacher, advocate, leader or preserver of mountain culture.
“Many past recipients of the Mountain Heritage Award also have found a way to pass on their knowledge to future generations by serving as teachers or mentors, or through avenues such as writing, storytelling or photography,” Philyaw said.
Nomination letters may be hand-delivered to the Mountain Heritage Center, located on the ground floor of WCU’s H.F. Robinson Administration Building; mailed to this address: Scott Philyaw, 151 H.F. Robinson Administration Building, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C. 28723; or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.