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Established in 1991, the Governor’s Awards in the Humanities celebrate the Palmetto State’s humanities academics and advocates. The Akers Prize, formerly the Fresh Voices in the Humanities Award, recognizes innovative individuals who use culture and history to bring people together, but whose efforts may have gone relatively unnoticed beyond their own community. SC Humanities has awarded 97 Governor’s Awards since 1991 and 12 Fresh Voices Awards since 2018.

Araceli Hernández-Laroche (UC Berkeley PhD) speaks four languages and is USC Upstate Professor of Modern Languages, French program coordinator, and founding director of South Carolina Centro Latino, the state’s first university-based center for the study of Hispanic and Latino cultures. Its three pillars are Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies & Civic Leadership, the Multilingual Public Humanities, and Translation & Community Interpreting. She has several publications on world wars, existentialist writers, the public humanities, including “France in the Times of COVID-19: The Public Humanities as a Vaccine for Coexistence,” and immigration in the Americas. She recently served as the co-president of the Association of Department of Languages (ALD) Executive Committee and on the Modern Language Association (MLA) Ad Hoc Committee Valuing the Public Humanities. Araceli HernándezLaroche is a former President of the SC Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) and 2021 American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Emerging Leader. She was recognized as the 2020 Career Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women of South Carolina and as the 2020 Inclusion Advocate of the Year by OneSpartanburg, Inc. Araceli Hernández-Laroche serves on several boards, such as the Chapman Cultural Center, the Spartanburg Academic Movement, and the ACLU of SC. Since moving to the beautiful state of South Carolina in 2012 and in an effort to expand the boundaries of her physical classroom, Araceli has joyfully co-organized with faculty, staff, students, and community partners numerous cultural events, globally themed conferences, and multigenerational public humanities programming in more than one language.