Campus Life

UWF faculty recognized for commitment to historic preservation Bense awarded prestigious honor

University of West Florida President Emeritus Dr. Judith Bense was recently named the 2019 recipient of the Evelyn Fortune Bartlett Award, the most prestigious award presented by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Bense was one of three UWF faculty members honored during the 41st Annual Preservation Awards Ceremony, held May 17 at the Pensacola Little Theatre.

UWF Archaeology Field School students conduct shovel testing

The award is named in honor of Evelyn Fortune Bartlett, the patron of Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale, which was bequeathed to the public for historic preservation. The award honors individuals who exemplify the guardianship of Florida’s historic properties through philosophy and actions.

“Receiving the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation 2019 Evelyn Fortune Bartlett Award is a great honor,” Bense said. “The Florida Trust is the most respected historic preservation organization in the state and I greatly appreciate this recognition by their leadership. You never do historic preservation or archaeology alone. It takes many, many people and the support of the University of West Florida, the state of Florida and Pensacola’s citizens. I accept this award for all of us and am grateful.”

Bense, president emeritus and professor of anthropology at UWF, founded the University’s anthropology and archaeology program in 1980 and served as its academic chair beginning in 2001, until 2008 when she became UWF’s fifth president. She also established the Archaeology Institute in 1980 and served as director for 20 years.

In 2006, she founded the statewide Florida Public Archaeology Network which is headquartered at UWF. FPAN is the largest statewide organization dedicated to bringing archaeology to the general public in the United States. The author of five books and 17 chapters in books and professional journals, Bense has been awarded over 75 grants and contracts totaling more than $6 million.

Dr. Elizabeth Benchley, director for the UWF Division of Anthropology and Archaeology and Archaeology Institute; Margo Stringfield, faculty research associate in the Division of Anthropology and Archaeology; and Catherine Eddins, community outreach coordinator for the UWF Archaeology Institute accepted the Outstanding Achievement Award in the Organizational Achievement category on behalf of the Archaeology Institute. The award recognized the work in preserving two important African-American cemetery sites in Pensacola dating back to the late 19th century.

The Institute worked with municipal government, community leaders and volunteers, among others, to groom AME Zion and Magnolia cemeteries to be valued resources that promote heritage tourism in Pensacola.

“The UWF Archaeology Institute is proud to be involved with efforts to preserve our community’s historic cemeteries,” Stringfield said. “Each of our historic cemeteries tells a story of the rich and diverse heritage. Our historic cemeteries are outdoor museums and inviting green spaces that create a sense of place for residents and tourists alike.”

Additional awards included an Outstanding Achievement Award in the Infill division to the UWF Historic Trust Museum Plaza for the master site plan and elements of Museum Plaza which preserve Pensacola’s history downtown and tell the city’s story; and UWF alumna Cynthia Catellier, assistant director of Institutional Effectiveness, received an Honorable Mention award in the Preservation/Education/Media division for her work documenting the iron fencing and gates at St. Michael’s Cemetery.

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to protecting Florida’s extraordinary heritage and history. Founded in 1978, the Florida Trust has collaborated to save irreplaceable Florida treasures like the Historic Florida Capitol and is a statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

To learn more about the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, visit

For more information about the UWF Division of Anthropology and Archaeology, visit

For more information on the UWF Historic Trust, visit