Professor of Anthropology Julia A. King Earns St. Mary’s College President’s Trailblazer Award


  • newswise-fullscreen Professor of Anthropology Julia A. King Earns St. Mary’s College President’s Trailblazer Award

    (L-R) St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda C. Jordan, Professor of Anthropology Julia A. King, Charles County Board of Commissioners President Rueben B. Collins II, and Michael Sullivan, local developer and entrepreneur.

Newswise — St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda C. Jordan presented the 2019 President’s Trailblazer Award on Thursday, April 18, to Julia A. King, professor of anthropology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

“When I created the Trailblazer Award in 2015, it was inevitable that Julie King would receive this award that recognizes notable “firsts” in the history of the College,” said President Jordan. “When I began my tenure as president in summer 2014, many members of the campus community personally welcomed me in a myriad of ways. But Julie welcomed me by inviting me to my first archaeological dig site, the Zekiah Fort! Julie is truly inspirational, as an explorer, as an investigator, and as a mentor and professor.”

After more than 30 years in the profession, King shows no sign of slowing down. “I wake up every day excited about archaeology and discovering new things with my students,” she said. King has been successful in the pursuit of more than $1 million in grant funding, several from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Park Service. She has held fellowships with Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks, the Virginia Historical Society, and Winterthur Museum in Delaware.

 She is currently a member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and from 2003-2011 served as an appointee to the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

A prolific writer, King’s major publications include “Archaeology, Narrative, and the Politics of the Past: The View from Southern Maryland” (University of Tennessee Press, 2012), which received a book award from the American Association of State and Local History in 2013. She co-wrote “Indian and European Contact in Context: The Mid-Atlantic Region” (University Press of Florida, 2004) as well as “Pathways to History: Charles County, 1658–1958” (Smallwood Foundation Inc., 2008), the latter winning the Maryland Historical Trust’s Preservation Heritage Book Award in 2009.

Her major accomplishments include being named founding director of the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, a state-of-the-art archaeological curation and conservation facility for Maryland archaeological collections, in 1998.

In 2003, King was the first archaeologist appointed by Pres. George W. Bush to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, a body that advises the president and Congress on matters of national historic preservation policy. King served under both Presidents Bush and Obama until 2011.

She received an Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History for the book, “Archaeology, Narrative, and the Politics of the Past: The View from Southern Maryland,” in 2014.

In 2018, King received the J.C. Harrington Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology to recognize a lifetime of scholarly achievement. King received the award – the society’s most prestigious - at its annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

According to King, “My most important achievements I think are the archaeological discoveries I have made with St. Mary’s College students since 2008. Archaeological sites that many people had been searching for decades, my students and I approached as ‘problems to be solved’ and we found a number of very important sites. However, we could not have found these sites without the funding support of a number of private parties, especially Michael and Laura Sullivan, and state agencies. With these discoveries, we could only do our work because of external support.”

King teaches courses in archaeology, Native American history and culture, and historic preservation.

The President’s Trailblazer Award was created by President Jordan in 2015 to honor those individuals or enterprises whose actions are notable “firsts” in the history of the College. Previous Trailblazer Award-winners include Trustee Donald “Donny” Bryan ’73, the first African American student to graduate from St. Mary’s College’s four-year program, followed by President Emeritus Edward T. “Ted” Lewis, who shepherded the “public honors college” moniker and the unique funding mechanism through the state legislature. In 2017, Julie Croteau ’93 received the Trailblazer Award for being the first female to make the St. Mary’s College’s Division III team as a freshman and the first female to play NCAA baseball in the men’s league. Last year, The Patuxent Partnership (TPP), whose support has enabled St. Mary’s College’s physics department to become a national model and enhanced the reach of the Center for the Study of Democracy, received the award. The College and TPP have enjoyed several long-term partnerships furthering the advancement of education and programming.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education through 2024-2025. St. Mary’s College, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Approximately 1,600 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary’s River in Southern Maryland.

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