It was announced at the conference in Reading and printed in the program that the Society board unanimously voted to give James Yerkes the first Distinguished Service Award. Today, Jim received his award, presented to him by Rich Boulet, director of the Blue Hill Public Library, a literary center in Maine near Yerkes’ home.
“Please express my sincere thanks to members of the Society,” Jim wrote in an email.
Yerkes, Professor of Religion and Philosophy Emeritus and former Provost of Moravian College, was honored for his extensive contributions to Updike scholarship, especially through The Centaurian, which he published from 1996 until it was forced to shut down in 2008. Yerkes is also well known among Updike scholars for editing John Updike and Religion: The Sense of the Sacred and the Motions of Grace, published by Eerdmans in December of 1999. Updike wrote him afterwards that “I think you got it just right,” and The John Updike Society thanks Jim Yerkes for his many years of service to Updike scholarship and congratulates him on his award. The presentation was reported by the local press, and library director Boulet was kind enough to send a PDF of an article that also appeared in The Ellsworth American: Ellsworth American story