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College of Education

The Charles and Margaret Witten Endowed Lecture and Documentary Award

Made possible through the generosity of Dr. Charles and Mrs. Margaret Witten, the Witten Lecture and Award honors Dr. Witten, former Dean of Students and professor emeritus of higher education administration. This biennial event, first staged in 1991, brought to campus distinguished academics from the fields of education and humanities and, in 2013, shifted to a documentary film award, bringing to campus filmmakers who prepared documentaries on education in the American southeast. Witten Endowed Lecture and Documentary Award is staged in conjunction with The Nickelodeon’s Indie Grits Film Festival.

April 2017: Screened in conjunction with the Nickelodeon Theatre’s Indie Grits Festival, the 2017 Witten Lecture-Screening included the presentation of the Museum of Education’s documentary video, The Travelstead Room: A Space to Honor, a Place to Engage, a portrayal of “the Travelstead Incident” and, through comments by faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars, an examination of the importance of memorializations at colleges and universities and the significance of designing spaces that encourage teachers and students to address and to confront issues of civil rights and social justice. The event was held in Wardlaw Hall and attended by administrators, faculty, and students, with special guests including members of the Travelstead family (Coleman Travelstead, son, and Monique McNamara, granddaughter) and Travelstead Award recipients Charles (Bud) Ferillo and Millicent E. Brown. 

April 2014: Screened in conjunction with the Nickelodeon Theatre’s Indie Grits Festival, the 2014 Witten Award for Distinguished Documentary Film was given to  40 Years Later: Now Can We Talk?, a portrayal of historical and contemporary tensions of high school desegregation. The event was held in Wardlaw Hall, with a standing room crowd of over 120 administrators, faculty, and students, with special guests from the Museum’s 1963-2013 exhibition including civil rights leaders James Solomon, I. S. Leevy Johnson, and Hemphill Pride. 

Spring 2013:  The 1st  Witten Award for Distinguished Documentary Film. As part of the Nickelodeon Theatre’s Indie Grits Festival, the Museum staged the first screening in the American southeast in over 50 years of the 1940 documentary film, One Tenth of Our Nation, a documentary film on African American education.

Fall 2012: The12th Witten Lecture featured Sallie Ann Robinson, former Daufuskie Island resident, who presented “The Water Was Wide” discussing her experiences as a student of Pat Conroy’s at the Mary Fields School during the 1969 and 1970 school years. This period of Conroy’s life would be drawn upon for his novel, The Water Is Wide.

Fall 2011: The 11th Charles and Margaret Witten Lecture featured Markie Hancock, a New York City independent filmmaker and film studies instructor at The New School, who presented “Fact, Truth, and Interpretation,” a screening of her documentary, Exclusions & Awakenings, about the legendary educator Maxine Greene followed by a discussion of interpretive issues that arise from the portrayal of an individual’s career.

Spring 2010: The 10th Charles and Margaret Witten Lecture featured Dr. Michael A. Olivas, the William B. Bates Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston Law Center, who presented “Colored men and Hombres aqui: The Unknown History of the Latino Brown v. Board Case,” an examination of the 1954 Hernandez v. Texas U.S. Supreme Court case that determined that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provided equal protection to Mexican Americans and all other racial groups.

Fall 2009: The 9th Charles and Margaret Witten Lecture featured Dr. Brian Schultz who discussed his book, “Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom,” an account of his inner-city, fifth-grade class and their journey to solve a problem that was important to the students: fighting for a new community school. Schultz advocated a democratic curriculum where students of color and their teachers together develop an integrated multicultural curriculum.


2007    James Rex, S.C. Department of Education

2006    Maxine Greene, Teachers College 

2004    Patrick Love, New York University

2001    George Keller, University of Pennsylvania

1999    Louis Smith, Washington University

1997    Patricia Bosworth, Columbia University

1995    William Ayers, University of Illinois at Chicago

1993    Wayne Urban, Georgia State University

1991    Herbert Kliebard, University of Wisconsin