Project Humanities Accolades

Dr. Neal A Lester Receives the Town of Paradise Valley MLK 2019 Diversity Award

The Town of Paradise Valley will observe and celebrate Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 21, 2019 at the Town Hall with a ceremony starting at 11 a.m. and luncheon immediately following.

During the ceremony, Dr. Neal A Lester, Foundation Professor of English and Founding Director of Project Humanities at Arizona State University, will be awarded the Paradise Valley MLK 2019 Diversity Award for dedicating his life trying to change people’s unconscious as well as conscious attitudes toward race and class by looking inward and discovering how a sense of privilege “may inform our decisions and control our actions.”

Dr. Neal A. Lester is an accomplished and respected community leader who promotes the values of talking, listening, and connecting through Project Humanities, an organization he founded, and its Humanity 101 initiative.


Neal Lester: City of Phoenix MLK "Living the Dream" Awardee

The Phoenix Human Relations Commission, in collaboration with the Phoenix Equal Opportunity Department, recognizes the accomplishments of people who have made an impact on the quality of life of Phoenix residents and contributed significantly to creating a compassionate and socially just community with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Living The Dream Awards and Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award.


Dr. Neal A. Lester Receives 2018 Diversity Leadership Alliance Award

Diversity Leadership Alliance is the premier Diversity Education organization in Arizona. We provide thought-provoking Diversity training, leadership guidance and continued support to help cultivate an inclusive community where each individual is valued and respected.


Neal Lester to be Honored by the Modern Language Association

Neal A. Lester, Foundation Professor of English and the founding director of Project Humanities at Arizona State University, has been selected to receive the Francis Andrew March Award from the Modern Language Association. The award recognizes exceptional service to the profession of English. Professor Lester will receive the honor at the association’s meeting in Vancouver in January.

Dr. Lester joined the faculty at Arizona State in 1997. He is the author of several books including Once Upon a Time in a Different World: Issues and Ideas in African American Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2007).

Professor Lester was the valedictorian of his graduating class at the University of West Georgia. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

- The journal of blacks in Higher Education


Project Humanities Director Touted as 'Invisible Hero'

If academia were Hollywood, it would be sweeps season for Neal A. Lester. Lester, who is the founding director of ASU’s Project Humanities and Foundation Professor of English, was presented with the 2015 Invisible Heroes’ "UMOJA" Award at a Feb. 3 ceremony at Mount of Olives Lutheran Church in Phoenix. It is Lester’s sixth award in less than a year.


Tempe Names ASU’s Lester as MLK Award Recipient

ASU professor Neal A. Lester has won several awards and recognitions throughout his academic career, and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day he’ll receive one that ranks right near the top.

The city of Tempe has announced that Lester will be given an MLK Diversity Award by the municipality’s Human Relations Commission for his commitment to diversity.


Project Humanities Director Receives Annual MLK Diversity Awards

TEMPE, Ariz - Today, the City of Tempe announced winners of the annual MLK Diversity Awards. This year's winners include the creator of ASU’s Humanity 101 Movement, Tempe's Challenge Day organizers, a welcoming church, a group that helps at-risk youth of all backgrounds and other outstanding community members.


Project Humanities Director Inducted into Echo Magazine’s Hall of Fame

Arizona State University’s Project Humanities was conceptualized in 2010 when Neal Lester, Ph.D., served as Arizona State University’s dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

Lester’s university-level initiative engaged those within ASU and beyond in critical conversations about humanities research as well as about what’s happening in the world. 

What was initially slated to be a “Year of the Humanities” with intense humanities programming across disciplines has, with president Michael M. Crow’s support, become a year-round offering of diverse programming that continues to bring individuals and communities together to “talk, listen, and connect.” 

Echo: As the founding director of ASU Project Humanities, can you tell us a little about your process of realizing this was a need wishing the community and what it was like to bring this effort to life? 2010?


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