The recipients “have broadened our horizons and enriched our lives,” said National Endowment for the Arts chairwoman Jane Chu. The NEA manages the nomination process for the medal, the highest honor given to aritsts and arts patrons by the federal goverment.
In addition to Lahiri, McMurtry and Waters, the 2014 National Humanities Medal will be presented to writer Anne Dillard, architect and preservationist Everett L. Fly, philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, scholar Fedwa Malti-Douglas and historians Vicki Lynn Ruiz and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham will also be honored. The Clemente Course in the Humanities, a free course for disadvantaged youth that was created by the late Earl Shorris in Manhattan, is also a recipient.
The Humanities awards recognize individuals and organizations whose works “has deepened the nation’s understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens’ engagement with history and literature or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to culture,” according to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the federal agency that manages the program on behalf of the White House.
“The recipients of this medal have sparked our imaginations, ignited our passions, and transformed our cultural understanding. They embody how the humanities can serve a common good,” NEH Chairman William Adams said in a statement.
The President will bestow the medals in an East Room ceremony at 3 p.m. Sept. 10. First Lady Michelle Obama is expected to attend.