Richard Santer, a Ferris State University Geography professor emeritus and a longtime advocate of Michigan history, has been honored by the Historical Society of Michigan. Santer was named the HSM’s History Hero Award recipient during the society’s 2018 annual meeting and conference.
The society said Santer, a former trustee of its board, has made a significant and lasting contribution to their history and mission. Santer, who was active in Ferris’ 1984 centennial celebration and several other historic local and state events hosted on the university campus, said he was honored to serve the oldest cultural organization in Michigan.
“Lewis Cass, who was governor of what was then the Michigan territory, and his geologist friend, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, founded the society, in 1828, nine years before statehood was achieved,” Santer said. “There was a five-year process undertaken to host the society’s 140th annual meeting, in Big Rapids, and on the Ferris campus, in 2014, which coincided with the university’s 130thanniversary.”
Santer is the third recipient of the History Hero Award, which was established in 2017. The professor said he is honored to join the late Ned Brandt, of Midland, and former federal district judge Avern Cohn as a recipient.
“The awardees are selected by the society’s executives, and History Heroes are, by nature, non-historians,” Santer said. “As a geographer, I am deeply honored to have had the opportunity to make a contribution as a supporter of the HSM and have tried to make a difference in people’s lives by emphasizing this state’s history.”
The HSM acknowledged in Santer’s History Hero Award announcement that through his
published works, he had “spread knowledge and understanding that the proper boundaries
of the state include the adjacent portions of the Great Lakes.” It is estimated that
about 40 percent of Michigan’s territory is located in those waters.
PHOTO CAPTION: Geology Professor Emeritus Richard Santer (right) received the History Hero Award from the Historical Society of Michigan during its annual meeting and conference in Sturgis, Michigan on Friday, Sept. 21. Pictured with Santer is Kendall Wingrove, a member of the HSM board and awards committee chair.