Along with flowers, May brought recognition to three former Humanities Texas board members for their dedication to their state. Humanities Texas congratulates Light Cummins on his recent appointment as Texas State Historian, Ellen Temple on her award as East Texan of the Year, and Betty Sue Flowers on an inspiring career with The University of Texas and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum.
On May 13, the office of Governor Rick Perry announced the appointment of Light Cummins as Texas State Historian. Cummins received recommendations from both the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas State Historical Association.
During his two-year term as state historian, Cummins is expected to "enhance Texans' knowledge about the state's history and heritage, encourage the teaching of Texas history in public schools, and consult with top government officials on the promotion of Texas history," according to the announcement from the Governor's office.
Cummins was on the Humanities Texas board from 1993–1998. He is the Guy M. Bryan Jr. Chair of American History and the director of the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies at Austin College, where he has taught for over thirty years.
"I am deeply honored by this appointment. It is a reaffirmation of the solid academic programs that distinguish Austin College, especially the college's offerings in Texas history and in Southwestern studies," he said.
On Thursday, May 28, 2009 Ellen Temple was named Ralph W. Steen Memorial East Texan of the Year during the annual Deep East Texas Council of Governments meeting in Lufkin. The award recognizes Temple's longtime dedication to philanthropy and community work in the Angelina County area.
Former Woodville mayor and 2008 East Texan of the Year Jimmie Cooley presented Temple with the award, which is viewed as one of the most prestigious honors bestowed in East Texas. Cooley described Temple as "a person who has strived to continuously improve the lives of those around her. She has strong principles and a commitment to serve and make a difference in the community. All of her adult life has been devoted to efforts for the region and the state."
Temple served on the Humanities Texas board from 1984–1989 and again in 2004. She chaired the board in 1988. Temple has also served as president of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center board and is the vice president of the Angelina College board and chair of the History Center Committee of the T.L.L. Temple Memorial Library in Diboll. According to the Lufkin Daily News, she is dedicated to preservation work as well. She currently supports the implementation of the Green Infrastructure Plan for Angelina County and securing a Wild and Scenic River designation for the Neches River will help preserve Deep East Texas for generations.
The newspaper also expressed thanks to Temple for her community work: "Ellen Temple could have hung her hat on her philanthropic career years ago. She has earned the right to take it easy. She's still working for Deep East Texas, though, and we can't thank her enough."
And finally, on Saturday, May 23, 2009, Betty Sue Flowers gave the commencement speech at The University of Texas at Austin's Plan II graduation ceremony, marking a significant moment not only for the 150 seniors but also for herself. After forty-five years in Austin, Flowers is leaving her post as director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum, leaving her home state, and beginning a new chapter of her life in New York City. She served on the Humanities Texas board from 1983–1988. To read a full homage to Flowers, please see the Austin American-Statesman's May 31 article.