East Mississippi Community College art instructor is the recipient of the college’s 2020 Humanities Teacher Award.

December 9, 2019

East Mississippi Community College art instructor Terry Cherry, who teaches on the college’s Scooba campus, has been named the 2020 Humanities Teacher Award recipient.

“Terry’s dedication to his craftsmanship and desire to share it with others made him the ideal recipient for this year’s award,” EMCC Interim Vice President of Instruction James Rush said. “Terry is an exceptional teacher and artist who has impacted countless students’ lives.”

Each year the Mississippi Humanities Council presents the award to humanities faculty at each of the state’s colleges and universities. The recipients will be recognized March 24, 2020 at the Council’s annual Public Humanities Awards ceremony at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson.

Humanities Teacher of the Year Award recipients are nominated each year by their respective institutions’ presidents or department deans. Recipient receive a $400 cash award.

Each recipient of the Humanities Teacher Award is required to prepare and deliver a public lecture. Cherry’s lecture will be Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m. in the F.R. Young Student Union board dining room on the Scooba campus. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend, as are the college’s students, faculty and staff. A reception will follow.

Cherry’s lecture is titled “Connections.”

“I will explain a little about how what I do on an individual basis is connected to art history,” Cherry said. “Mainly I want to show what artists have influenced me and how the work of artists in general, even if they don’t think about it, stands on the shoulders of everyone that came before them.”

Cherry first began teaching at EMCC in 1975. He left the college in 1984 to tour and exhibit his artwork at festivals, art shows and competitions across the country. After a decade on the road, he turned again to teaching on a part time basis and became a full time instructor two years later at EMCC.

“When I first started teaching, I thought, ‘At some point I am going to get out of this and pursue my art,’ which I did,” Cherry said. “When I came back, after my first semester, I realized I was actually more cut out for teaching, which is one of the reasons I have been able to stay at it so long.”

Cherry will retire this month, after having worked at the college for a total of 34 years.

A Texas native, Cherry moved at the age of 19 to his father’s hometown of Porterville in Kemper County, where Cherry resides today. At his father’s urging, Cherry enrolled at EMCC in 1970. He dropped out of college for a couple of years, entered the logging business and later reenrolled at EMCC.

Cherry took an art class “and never looked back.”

After graduating from EMCC, Cherry enrolled at Mississippi State University and a year later married his wife Kate, who is the executive director of the Meridian Museum of Art. In May, the couple will celebrate their 46th wedding anniversary.

Cherry earned a bachelor’s degree in commercial art at MSU and his master’s degree at Mississippi College. In 2016, he was presented with Mississippi College’s Distinguished Art Alumnus Award.

Cherry’s numerous awards include the Mississippi Watercolor Society’s Grand National Mary Jane Whittington Award (1989); the Mississippi Museum Purchase Award (1992); and the John Gaddis Award (1993). His artwork has been exhibited in venues that include the Terrance Gallery in New York, the Southern Watercolor Society Annual Juried Competition and the Texas Watercolor Society, to name a few.

While his medium of choice is watercolors, Cherry’s artwork is eclectic.

“As a teacher, you try to touch on as many different styles and types of artwork as possible so you wind up trying all kinds of things,” Cherry said. “It’s great fun.”