NCPH Founders Award

In 2015, the NCPH Council of Past Presidents developed the Founders Award to recognize those individuals, institutions, and programs who were present at the creation of NCPH and who played critical roles in the organization’s success. The award was last presented in 2021.

2021 Winner

Loyola University Public History Program

The National Council on Public History’s (NCPH) Council of Past Presidents is pleased to present its 2021 Founders Award to the Loyola University Chicago public history program. 

Loyola embarked on public history education in the spring of 1980 as NCPH was organizing. Drs. Robert Kelley and G. Wesley Johnson, founders of the public history program at the University of California Santa Barbara, provided advice to Loyola’s faculty, and Dr. Johnson brought Dr. Theodore Karamanski into an NCPH leadership role as a member of the first board of directors and an incorporator that same spring. 

Since 1980 Loyola’s students, alums, and faculty have held leadership positions in NCPH. Both Drs. Karamanski and Patricia Mooney-Melvin have served on the NCPH Board of Directors as officers (including chair/president) and on the editorial board of The Public Historian. Loyola faculty have led NCPH initiatives to advance the practice of public history. Dr. Karamanski was a national leader in developing a code of ethics for public historians and edited the 1986 issue of The Public Historian on “Ethics and the Public Historian.” Dr. Mooney-Melvin was a key faculty member for NCPH’s National Endowment for the Humanities-funded 1984 Institute on Teaching Public History. Reflecting ongoing efforts to define public history in the academy, Loyola faculty have published eight articles on curriculum in The Public Historian. They actively participate in the burgeoning international public history movement in the People’s Republic of China and through the International Federation for Public History. Faculty have served the national public history movement through program reviews at other institutions and participated in “Integrating Public History Into the Curriculum,” the Organization of American History/Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education Workshops for the Revitalization of the Teaching of History (1986-1989), when public history programs were still new ideas in many history departments.

As public history institutions around the country work on diversifying their faculty and student bodies, Loyola has again been “present at the creation” of these efforts. It has hosted a colleague through the American Historical Association Faculty Career Diversity Institute and recruited tenure track public history minority faculty. Since 2007 it has provided fellowships for African American, Latinx, and Native American students.

Loyola has expanded beyond the Public History MA to offer the MA/MLIS with Dominican University and Public History/American History PhD. Through the fall of 2020, Loyola has graduated 181 Public History MAs, 16 Public History MA/MLIS (begun in 1984), and, since 1998, 24 Joint Public History/American History PhDs. Loyola’s faculty and students have produced an impressive list of projects that have served the needs of public history institutions, including the Forest Service, National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense, US District Courts, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and local agencies like the Chicago Maritime Museum and Chicago Historical Society. These projects provide critical experience for students and serve Loyola’s outreach mission.

In a competitive job market, Loyola graduates have found positions at the Arab American National Museum, Illinois Humanities Council, Wisconsin State Historical Society, USS Constitution Museum in Boston, and National Park Service. They are teaching in public history programs at the University of Illinois-Springfield, Southern Illinois University, North Park University-Chicago, University of Southern Indiana, Northern Kentucky University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and University of New Mexico. Alums also have held leadership roles in the American Association for State and Local History and the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites. 

We appreciate Loyola’s decades of support and look forward to the program’s continued leadership into the future.

Submission Guidelines

The NCPH Founders Award was established in 2015 to recognize those individuals who were present at the creation of NCPH and who played critical roles in the organization’s success. The NCPH Council of Past Presidents administers the award and selects the winner. Award winners receive complimentary meeting registration and a ticket for the awards breakfast.


Phone: 317-274-2716
Fax: 317-278-5230
Email: [email protected]


Past Founders Award Winners


  • Suellen M. Hoy
  • Joel A. Tarr


  • Jack M. Holl
  • Darlene R. Roth


  • Arnita A. Jones
  • Philip L. Cantelon


  • G. Wesley Johnson
  • Robert W. Pomeroy, III