William Warfield Creative Expression Award

Nomination Form

William Warfield (1920-2002) was a member of the University of Illinois faculty in the College of Music from 1976 until 1990, when he retired as Chair of the division of Voice. Warfield, a bass-baritone, was an internationally acclaimed performer who has a long and rich career. He sang “Ol Man River” in the 1950 film adaptation of the musical Showboat, performed as Porgy in the musical Porgy and Bess, made several tours with the U.S. State Department, and offered recitals in Carnegie Hall in 1950 and 1975. He was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Arkansas in 1972, Boston University in 1982, and won a Grammy in 1984 for narration of Aaron Copeland’s A Lincoln Portrait. Warfield authored a autobiography, William Warfield, in 1991.


This award was established to honor the contributions of William Warfield to the Champaign-Urbana, national and world communities. The purpose of the award is to recognize the active involvement and accomplishments of a UIUC undergraduate or graduate student in promoting African American cultural and/or artistic life.


In order to be eligible for this award a student must meet the following criteria:

  • The student must be in good standing (i.e., the student must not be on academic probation).
  • The student must demonstrate outstanding contributions to promoting African American cultural and/or artistic life on campus or in the surrounding community. The competition is open to students across campus.
  • The student could be involved in dance, performance, creative writing, theatre, fine and applied arts, etc.
  • The student should demonstrate leadership or innovation in the above activities.
  • The student must submit a one page statement of purpose or goals and a work sample (audio/video recording, artwork, etc.) (to be returned after the selection process).
  • Students may self-nominate or can be nominated by another student, faculty, or administrator.
  • The application/nomination should be accompanied by a letter of support from someone who works with the relevant organization or nominee.

Selection Process

The application information is available on line at www.afro.illinois.edu and in African American Studies main office. Completed application material is due before 5pm on March 30, 2018, to Shirley Olson, Assistant to the Head (1201 W. Nevada St.). The Awards Committee reviews the applications and makes a recommendation to African American Studies core faculty based on the above criteria. One student recipient is selected after careful consideration of the Committee’s recommendation. The committee reserves the right not to give an award in any given year.


The award winner will be announced at a reception in late April. The recipient will receive a personalized award , recognition at the reception, and the recipient’s name will be placed on a plaque displayed in the African American Studies conference room.

For More Information

Dr. Desiree Y. McMillion, dymc@illinois.edu, 217-333-7781
1201 W. Nevada St., MC143, Urbana, IL 61801

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