Picture of Kauffman Placard


Each Spring the Academy for Lifelong Learning honors group or individual that has made significant contributions to the Academy.  This award is given in memory of Dr. Earl F. Kauffman who was one of the individuals most responsible for the creation of the Academy for Lifelong Learning back in 1989. 

To learn more about Dr. Kauffman and the founding of the Academy for Lifelong Learning, please see our Early History document. 


The annual Kauffman Award for outstanding service to the Academy for Lifelong Learning was presented to Dr. James Farmer at the annual Kauffman Remembrance Day Luncheon, April 13, 2017.

USCA has placed photos from the Luncheon on the Facebook USCA Office of External Programs, Continuing Education, and Conferences page (click here).

Dr. James Farmer photo Originally from Wilson, NC, Jim Farmer attended East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, where he earned a BS, Masters, and PhD., specializing in the history of the antebellum South.  While a student at ECU, he was awarded the prestigious Brewer prize for the best National Doctoral Dissertation, as well as a book contract.

Jim taught in public high school for two years, and then one year back at ECU before accepting a position in the History Department at University of South Carolina Lancaster, where he spent the next nineteen years.  Fortunately for us, he then took a position at USC Aiken where he remained until his retirement sixteen years later.  While at USCA, he held the June Rainsford Henderson Chair in Southern and Local History Studies. In 2008 he received the Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus Award as well as the June Rainsford Henderson Chair Emeritus award.

Since retiring as an active USCA professor, Jim has taught numerous courses for the Academy for Lifelong Learning, and became one of the Academy's best liked instructors.   His classes always attracted a large number of students who signed back up for every class he offered because they knew his offerings would be educational and interesting, and because Jim's soft spoken delivery would be so darned charming.  Jim says he found teaching Academy courses was stimulating and rewarding for him because Academy members brought such a wide array of backgrounds, life experiences, and knowledge to his classroom.

Jim and his wife Judy have now moved from the Aiken area to Spartansburg SC to be nearer their family of two daughters and "four exceptional grandchildren".  In Spartansburg, Jim now occupies his time chairing various symposia and conferences on American history, writing books and articles for several publications and textbooks, serving on the editorial board for South Carolina Historical Magazine, and many other activities.  He currently has a contract to publish his latest book based on the diary of an Edgefield planter.  Now that they are settled in their new home, Jim hopes to become involved with the Lifelong Learning program at Spartansburg's Wofford College -- our loss is their gain. On top of everything else, he is an accomplished banjo player and offers his voice to his church choir. 

Jim has been a good friend to the Academy for many years and already is missed by its members, so we were delighted to get him back for this award presentation.  During his time here, if in no other way, Jim made a lasting mark on our community by authoring a number of the historical marker signs found around the Aiken area.

Dr. James Farmer with his 2017 Kauffman Award