Awarded every five years to an African American who has made important contributions to the university. Recipients demonstrate distinguished service, leadership, and social advocacy.
Since arriving at UT in 1982, Carolyn Hodges, a professor of German, has time and again proven her commitment and dedication to UT. After more than a decade in administration, serving as vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, Hodges became chair of the Africana Studies program in 2016. Under her leadership, the program now has more than 100 majors and minors, and the graduate certificate program is attracting talented PhD candidates. She helped get approval to hire additional tenure-line joint faculty and lecturers, infusing new life into the department and adding diverse personnel to the university’s ranks. Hodges has supported faculty members’ outreach endeavors and approved experiential learning as a component of faculty-led summer study abroad programs to Senegal and South Africa. Hodges’s own academic interests are in Afro-German literature and legacy, and under her guidance the Africana Studies program has expanded its perception of Africa and its diaspora by becoming more globally inclusive.