A veteran political science professor from LSU Shreveport will receive the Humanist of the Year award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities at an April 6 ceremony in Darrow, La. William "Bill" Pederson has taught at LSUS for 34 years and founded the International Lincoln Center for American Studies. It’s the only center of its kind that showcases President Abraham Lincoln’s legacy outside America. In the Lincoln tradition, Pederson showed humility about receiving the award.
“It feels good because this is the first time in the 28 years of the award that someone from LSUS has received it. It’s to an honor to be a part of the LSUS tradition in the humanities," Pederson said.
Pederson was drawn to the teaching profession as a high school senior. He had an opportunity to teach typing to a group of sixth grade honors students and he was hooked.
“That was the most fun thing I'd ever done. This was when the manual typewriters were being replaced by electric typewriters," Pederson said, during a recent interview surrounded by Lincoln memorabilia in LSUS's Lincoln Center.
Pederson’s current scholarly work focuses on the translation of an epic Lincoln poem by an Iranian writer. Pederson enlisted the help of a student to translate it from Farsi to English, and he hopes to find a publisher in the United States.
The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities honors Louisianians who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities. Another Shreveporter, elementary school teacher Vicki Bell, received this year's Humanities Teacher of the Year award from the LEH.