The JU Presidential Global Citizen Award Winner: Ken Burns

January 25, 2016

To our JU community,

Allow me to formally announce the outstanding news that many of you may have heard through our various communication channels: Jacksonville University will award its second Presidential Global Citizen Award to Ken Burns, a world-class documentary filmmaker whose profound achievement at telling the most compelling stories of our shared history has had a far-reaching effect on millions of people, and likely touched all of our lives in one way or another.

The award will be presented at a 12:30 p.m. luncheon on Tuesday, Feb. 9, on the terrace of the Howard Building near our iconic Dolphin statues, with a question-and-answer session immediately following. Mr. Burns has graciously agreed to meet with students and faculty as well, and will also screen a world premiere of never-before-seen footage from two of his upcoming documentaries.

Our first Global Citizen award was given in 2014 to PepsiCo Chairman and Chief Executive Indra K. Nooyi. As reference, consider that what Ms. Nooyi is to international commerce, Ken Burns is to documentary filmmaking: a giant, unparalleled in influence, unrivaled in talent and unequalled in impact.

The Jacksonville University Presidential Global Citizen Award is given to a visionary leader whose impact is felt “well beyond the bounds of his or her recognized responsibilities.” The honoree embodies the University's ideal of a globally engaged citizen who creates new opportunities to lead, live and learn.

In his more than 30-year career, Mr. Burns has directed and produced some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including “The Civil War”; “Baseball”; “Jazz,” “Lewis and Clark”; “The War”; “The National Parks”; “The Roosevelts” and, most recently, “Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies.” He is considered the greatest documentarian of his generation, and is at the very top of lists of the greatest such filmmakers of all time.

His films have been honored with 14 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, two Oscar nominations, the Peabody Award, the Lincoln Prize and the Steinbeck Award, among many others; and he is the recipient of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Lifetime Achievement Award. “The Civil War” was proclaimed by Real Screen Magazine as the "most influential documentary of all time."

Clearly, Mr. Burns exemplifies the values of exceptional education and intelligent discourse that Jacksonville University is known for in our community and well beyond.

To learn more about Ken Burns and this extraordinary event, please go to To allow parking for our guests visiting campus, we will close Lot B in front of the Howard Building on the day of Mr. Burns’ visit, until approximately 3 p.m. We ask that our staff and faculty use other appropriate lots on the west side of campus during this time.

Thank you for your cooperation as we welcome this remarkable artist to JU, and as always, we will keep you updated on more exciting developments designed to upgrade the educational experience at this great University.


Tim Cost
Jacksonville University
Class of 1981