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Release Date: 
Friday, March 15, 2019

Woodyard receives the Gene L. Brazell Community Role Model Award

Headshot of EmmaJean B. Woodyard
EmmaJean Woodyard

EmmaJean B. Woodyard received this year’s Gene L. Brazell Community Role Model Award at HFC’s 46th Annual Women’s Recognition Luncheon Friday, March 22.

“It’s quite an honor. I wasn’t expecting it,” said Woodyard, of Dearborn. "I remember Gene Brazell from my time at the College."

A Pittsburgh native, Woodyard moved to Michigan in 1975 with her family. Her husband, Dr. James R. Woodyard, is affiliated with the Wayne State University School of Medicine, conducting cancer research. They have four children and three grandchildren. In fact, their children – Mark, William, Michael, and Mary Jean – all attended HFC at one point.

Woodyard took classes at several colleges before moving to Michigan. At HFC, she earned her associate degree in general studies. During her HFC days, she won first place in the Frances G. Barrett Memorial Creative Writing Contest – “much to my surprise,” she says – an annual event that honors the memory of the English Department’s first chairperson.

“That was certainly one of the highlights of my life,” said Woodyard, who would later earn her bachelor's degree in marketing and public relations from Wayne State.

Dearborn City Councilwoman Leslie Herrick, an HFC alumna, nominated Woodyard for this award. Herrick will present it to her at next week’s luncheon.

“EmmaJean is a shining example of a committed community worker and leader who has the unusual ability to think outside the box, the gift to inspire a strong team spirit among her colleagues, and the character of a person who has uncompromising ethics and integrity,” said Herrick.

Exceptional community service

Woodyard has provided exceptional community service in Dearborn for more than 35 years as both a professional and a volunteer. Her focus has been helping people reach their full potential, building a stronger community, and brightening lives through the arts. She has offered countless opportunities for people of all ages to engage in producing art, participate in music and dance, or attend art-related activities and events.

In 1983, Woodyard assumed the role of President for the Dearborn Community Arts Council (DCAC). In 1986 she was named the organization's first executive director.

Since then, she has served on numerous boards, including the Michigan Association for Community Arts Agencies (MACAA); the Wayne County Council for Arts, History and Humanities; and the Dearborn Symphony.

She has also served on numerous committees, including the annual Michigan Governor’s Arts Awards Committee, the Dearborn Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee, the Arab American National Museum Planning Committee, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Grant Review Committee.

Collaborating with HFC

Her extensive collaborations have included projects with HFC music teachers Rick Goward and G. Kevin Dewey, HFC ceramics instructor Steve Glazer, as well as Lisa Meyer and Susan Briggs, heads of the music and art departments, respectively, in the Dearborn Public Schools.

“Of all the people I’ve worked with, she’s the best when it comes to following through. She’s a tremendous organizer, and she’s a great friend. She’s very deserving of this award,” said Goward, founder/director of the HFC Big Band.

Her commitment to her work has resulted in numerous awards, including HFC’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the Mayor’s Arts Award (Dearborn), the Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies Spirit Award, and the Woman of the Year in Arts/Media-YWCA-Western Wayne County Award.

“It’s like a flower that kept unfolding in my life. When I moved to Michigan, I volunteered in the arts community and helped establish numerous institutions, such as the Padzieski Art Gallery (in the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn),” said Woodyard. “With my variety of experiences, I formed my own arts management program before arts management was even a viable degree!”