Toledo native honored with S.C. humanity awardWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Adrienne Conner, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
Toledo native Stephen Wise recently added another award to his list of accolades.
Wise, who is curator and cultural resource director at the Parris Island Museum in Parris Island, S.C., was recently one of three South Carolinians to be awarded the state’s Governor’s Award in the Humanities.
Parris Island is home base for the U.S. Marine Corps and the museum focuses on the branch’s vast military history. It records more than 8,000 years of history, including French and Spanish colonies in the area and Marine Corps recruitment training from 1900 to present. The museum, which is open to the public, also offers driving tours, which include viewings of sites where the Spanish lived 450 years ago.
As curator, Wise said he stays busy managing the museum’s vast archives and giving tours. He also is in charge of the museum’s preservation, interpretation and public outreach. Outside of his work with the museum, Wise has published work and been featured on television, including History, Discovery and A&E.
Wise grew up in the Ottawa Park area and attended Toledo Public Schools. He attended Wittenberg University for his bachelor’s degree and Bowling Green State University for his master’s degree, both in history.
Wise said he has always had a great interest in history. Though he doesn’t visit Toledo that much anymore, he credits his hometown for his passion of history. As a child Wise said he loved visiting the Fort Meigs exhibit in Perrysburg and found the Toledo Zoo’s Natural History Museum fascinating. His parents also played a big role in his love for history.
“My parents would travel a lot. Every year we would take a two-week vacation and visit historical sites and see a little bit of everything,” Wise said.
After graduating from BGSU, Wise went to the University of South Carolina for his doctorate in history. While in South Carolina he applied for a position at the Parris Island Museum and has been there for more than 30 years.
One of Wise’s colleagues nominated him for the humanities award. The ceremony was held on Oct. 17 in the state capital of Columbia.
Randy Akers, the executive director of The Humanities Council, said the committee chooses winners based on six categories, including scholarship, research, teaching and community service.
“Stephen fit all of those categories. He has given over 25 years of professional service to our state in humanities. He’s very active, an author and has been featured on camera,” Akers said.
Wise said he was thrilled upon receiving notification he was a recipient for the award.
“[The award] was a tremendous honor. It felt wonderful to gain recognition for the work I’ve done,” he said.
But the most rewarding part of his job, Wise said, is “doing work that you just love doing.”