AAHHE William Aguilar Cultural Arts Award

The AAHHE William Aguilar Cultural Arts Award recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to the understanding of the national Latino community and/or culture through the fine, creative, and performing arts.

2021 William Aguilar Cultural Arts Award Recipient

Javier Avila
Poet, Novelist, Professor, and Public Speaker


Javier Ávila, PhD is a celebrated poet, novelist, professor, and public speaker. His illustrious literary career and the massive outreach of his one-man show, The Trouble with My Name, have made him a prominent Hispanic voice. The show is a national phenomenon, with over 180 performances across the U.S. With his message of unity, thousands have embraced the presentation as a profoundly edifying experience that is at once a history lesson on Hispanic heritage, an examination of discrimination in America, a celebration of Puerto Rican culture, and an open platform for a continued conversation about equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

The power of The Trouble with My Name is largely attributed to Ávila’s talent as an educator. In 2015, Ávila was named Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He is the first Latino to receive this award. Read more...

List of Past Recipients

  • 2020 Juan Felipe Herrera
  • 2019 John A. Lopez
  • 2018 Laurie Ann Guerrero
  • 2017 Ana Castillo
  • 2016 Juan Felipe Herrera
  • 2015 Rolando Hinojosa-Smith
  • 2014 Octavio Roca
  • 2013 Benjamin Saenz
  • 2012 Alma Flor Ada
  • 2011 Chon Noriega
  • 2010 Francisco Aragon
  • 2009 Bessy Reyna
  • 2008 Javier Áuila
  • 2007 Helena Maria Viramontes
  • 2006 Edward Gonzales
  • 2005 Cordelia Chávez Candelaria
  • 2004 Alberto Rios
  • 2003 Rudolfo Anaya
  • 2002 Juan Delgado
  • 2001 Teófilo Jaime Chahín
  • 1996 Nicholas Kanellos & Gary D. Keller