City of Prattville honors Troy University First Lady Janice Hawkins for her commitment to the arts

Among those in attendance at Saturday night's banquet honoring Mrs. Janice Hawkins were Board President Pro-Tem Gerald Dial and his wife Faye.

Among those in attendance at Saturday night's banquet honoring Mrs. Janice Hawkins were Board President Pro-Tem Gerald Dial and his wife Faye.

When it comes to supporting the arts, Janice Hawkins’ consistent performance was compared to that of a Ferrari.

Mrs. Hawkins, Troy University’s First Lady, was honored by the Prattville Creative and Performing Arts Council during a banquet at the Legends at Capitol Hill on Saturday night for her commitment and dedication to supporting and promoting the arts in Alabama. Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie, Jr., read a proclamation, marking March 2 as Janice Hawkins Day in the city.

“I owe so much to Janice and to Troy University,” said the artist Nall, a longtime friend of the Hawkins family and a previous honoree of the Council. “When it comes to supporting the arts, Janice is like a Ferrari, and when she shifts in the second gear, you better hold on because she’s got you on board and you are going airborne. I admire her so much and I feel so fortunate to call her a friend.”

Since 2006, the Prattville Creative and Performing Arts Council has honored many people, including internationally-known artist Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas; Wilson Pickett, musician and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee; The Swampers of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio; the Artist Nall; author Daniel Wallace who wrote Big Fish; Dr. Tonea Stewart, actress and educator; Geoffrey Sherman, Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Braxton Schuffert, singer/songwriter and original member of Hank Williams’ band; The Alabama Blues Project and its founder, Debbie Bond, singer/songwriter and blues musician; Jack Warner, art collector and founder of the Westervelt Warner Museum in Tuscaloosa; and crime fiction writer Ace Atkins.

Al Head, a TROY alumnus and former director of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, credited Mrs. Hawkins for the University’s commitment to the creative and performing arts, but also noted that her impact is felt well beyond the University.

“Janice is the longest standing member of the Alabama Humanities Foundation, and I have really enjoyed serving alongside her,” Head said. “Her commitment to the arts and humanities in Alabama are unwavering. She is the greatest first lady that Troy University has ever had. Janice, thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do, and congratulations on this well-deserved honor.”

Mrs. Hawkins said she was humbled to be recognized the Council and commended them for the work they are doing in the City of Prattville.

“I can’t say enough how honored and humbled I am to be here tonight,” she said. “To look at this list of past honorees and to be counted in their company is extremely humbling. None of us do anything of any worth alone, and I look out here tonight and see so many friends that have been so supportive. I grateful for the Board of Trustees. I could not have done a single one of the things accomplished at Troy University without their support and encouragement. I especially want to say thank you to my husband, Jack Hawkins. We are so blessed to be at Troy University. The things that are happening there are so exciting. The best thing is doing things that filter down and change lives, and that is happening at TROY.”

Mrs. Hawkins was responsible for the creation of an international arts park and center on the Troy Campus, which the Troy University Board of Trustees named in her honor. The park includes an amphitheater, several outdoor sculpture exhibits including 200 replica terracotta warriors and an International Arts Center that is home to the Huo Bao Zhu Gallery and Nall Museum, as well as classroom space for the University’s Department of Art and Design. She was also instrumental in the creation of the University’s dance program, which is celebrating its 10th year, and a relationship with the City of Pietrasanta, Italy that has resulted in study abroad opportunities for art, theatre and dance and music students.

Mrs. Hawkins’ commitment to the arts has also been demonstrated through her service on local, statewide and regional boards and foundations, such as the NALL Foundation, the Davis Theatre, Very Special Arts Alabama and the Troy Council on the arts and Humanities.