2022: Dr. Edward S. Holmes
Every year the English Department’s Board of Visitors honors a graduate for their outstanding career, contribution to society, or support of the University of Wisconsin. This year’s recipient is Dr. Edward S. Holmes.
Dr. Holmes hails from the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he completed his undergraduate degrees in English and political science, a Master of Social Work degree and a PhD in educational leadership and policy analysis. Dr. Holmes is well known for founding, producing, and directing the Ebony Expression Cultural Awareness Project, a performance arts group for which he received city, county, and congressional recognition. This innovative program was dedicated to the talent development of African American youth and the education of communities across the state about the richness, significance, and contributions of Black culture to American society.
His 40-year career in the Madison community has focused on the implementation of creative community-based arts and educational programs as well as the creation of inclusive, engaging, academically successful public schools. Holmes received Wisconsin’s prestigious Milken Educator of the Year award in 2003 for his work in the revitalization of Wright Middle School, Madison Metropolitan School District’s first charter school. He went on to successfully lead West High School for a decade, one of the top public high schools in the state and nation. He received Wisconsin’s first Martin Luther King Heritage Award for his work at The Neighborhood House and the South Madison Neighborhood Centers, which served some of Madison’s first multi-cultural, multi-racial low-income communities.
Dr. Holmes serves as Chief Equity and Innovation Officer at the Overture Center for the Arts and a member of the shared Executive Leadership Team, a creative non-traditional leadership model that challenges the notion that an organization must have a single president and CEO to achieve success.
About the Distinguished Alumni Award
This award honors the prestigious graduates of the UW English program who have made outstanding contributions in one or more of the following ways:
- Professional achievements
- Contributions to society
- Service or support of the University of Wisconsin
The honorees demonstrate the value that their English education has had on their lives and the rewarding paths that an English major may take in life.