History of the Educators Award

At the national convention of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society in 1936 Dr. Madeline Veverka proposed that consideration be given to establishing an educators fund for stimulating research by women. Two years later Dr. Annie Webb Blanton made a motion which resulted in the actual establishment of the Fund, to be financed by setting aside one-half of the royalties from purchase of supplies from Balfour and Company. In 1942, at Dr. Blanton’s suggestion, the Society began a war-bond project, aimed at aiding the nation’s war effort as well as providing funds for the Educators Award. Each member was urged to contribute $1.00, and by 1944, $14,000 worth of bonds had been purchased. Interest from these bonds was added to the Balfour royalties to make possible the first award of $1,000 in 1946. 

By action at the 1956 convention, transfer of Balfour royalties was discontinued, but the Fund grew steadily as a result of increase in interest rates. In the earlier years the award was presented biennially, but from 1969 to the present it has been given each year. In 1981 the amount awarded was increased to $1,500 and in 1989 to $2,000. In 1996, due to lower interest rates, the award was decreased to $1,500. In 2006, the award was increased to $2,500. 

In 1941 Dr. Blanton moved that the president be authorized to appoint a committee of six Society members to serve as the Educators Award committee. Sometime between 1941 and 1945 the committee became known as the Awards Panel, and its composition was changed. Three Delta Kappa Gamma members and two men who were well known as educators made up the panel which selected the first award recipient. This same composition was continued until 1962, when apparently action was taken to authorize a panel of seven Society members, elected for overlapping terms. At the convention in 1974, the revised Constitution provided that the panel be appointed by the president, with a chair and one member from each of the Society regions. 

There is indication that the panel was at one time under the general supervision of the international committee on awards and later became an independent committee. Beginning at least with 1970, “Panel of Judges on Educators Award” was used to designate the committee, and in 1978 the title became “Panel of Judges.”  In 1982 the title was changed to “Educators Award Committee.” 

Available records of the work of the committee through the years indicate that there has been continuing effort to improve communication so that truly outstanding works will be submitted for consideration. There is also evidence that serious attention has been given to improving standards used in selecting recipients and to enhance the general efficiency of the committee in performing its duties. One indication of the favorable results of these efforts is the impressive list of award recipients from 1946 to the present.