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H. Stanley Liddell Award

Whatzup presents the H. Stanley Liddell Award to individuals who have made a uniquely significant contribution to the arts and culture of Fort Wayne and surrounding communities.

The award is named for Stan Liddell, the founder of Piere's entertainment center and first recipient of the award (then simply called "Special Achievement Award" in 2001. Liddell passed away in February 2013; here is what Whatzup said of him at the time:

"Were it not for Stan Liddell, there would be no Whatzup. It’s as simple as that. This publication would never have survived past its second year had not Stan Liddell seen its potential to impact the arts and entertainment in Fort Wayne and made it a significant part of Piere’s marketing strategy. For nearly 16 years, Piere’s Entertainment Center occupied the back page of this publication, and that advertising investment was critical to Whatzup’s continued success over the years. In all of our dealings with Stan, we found him to be a man of generosity, fairness, honesty, kindness and vision, a man whose word was as solid as rock. H. Stanley Liddell passed away at the age of 78 on Monday, February 4, 2013. He will be sorely missed, not only by us at Whatzup, but by the Fort Wayne area’s arts community, a community upon whom his influence, though usually quiet and behind the scenes, was enormous and lasting."

H. Stanley Liddell Award

2021
Derek Reeves

Derek Reeves

As a young child growing up in Indianapolis, a musical future seemed preordained for Derek Reeves.Since his mother was a violinist, as was his paternal grandfather, Reeves began playing the violin when he when he was two years old, something he says was in his DNA.After earning a scholarship to study at Indiana University’s prestigious Jacobs Sch...

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Jody Hemphill Smith

Jody Hemphill Smith

For some young people, selling parents on the study of art in college can be a tough row to hoe. Jody Hemphill Smith had an entirely different experience. “My grandparents were both art professors,” Smith said. “I was the youngest of four, and my mother was hellbent to make an artist out of one of the kids to carry on the tradition. My siblin...

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2020
Mark Minnick

Mark Minnick

Born in Cleveland, Mark Minnick first came to Fort Wayne in 1972 to attend college. Always motivated by an entrepreneurial spirit, Minnick had already gotten his real estate broker’s license by 1974, ambitious for a young man still in college but also risky since 1974 was not a good year for the country’s economy. He eventually started his own...

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Leslie Hormann

Leslie Hormann

Leslie Hormann’s first exposure to Fort Wayne Youtheatre came when she was in fourth grade. “I spent a lot of grade school standing in the hall because I was talking too much,” Hormann said. “My fourth-grade teacher suggested Youtheatre to my mother because she knew I needed an outlet for all of my talking and energy. But even before that, ...

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Christopher Guerin

Christopher Guerin

What can you do with a degree in English literature? Christopher Guerin, who earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the subject at Northern Illinois University, used his to push the Fort Wayne Philharmonic to the world-class level it now enjoys. While at NIU, which is located in the Chicago suburb of Dekalb, Guerin met his future wife...

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2019
Doug Driscoll

Doug Driscoll, founder of Whatzup

It was quiet at the Shriner Lake home of Anita and Doug Driscoll the afternoon I arrived to talk to Doug about something he didn’t want to talk about: his selection as the 2019 winner of the H. Stanley Liddell Award. The Liddell award, presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to arts and culture in the Fort Wayne area, has...

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2018
Betty Fishman

Betty Fishman

The first thing I see when I arrive at Betty Fishman’s condominium off Covington Road is a 5-foot diameter disc of what looks like concrete hanging on an outside wall opposite her garage. The gray surface is smooth with a curved undulation like a breaking wave or a winding river flanked by a rolling bluff running horizontally just above the mid-...

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Marshall White

Marshall White

Marshall White has a thing about relevance. White is the man behind the very successful Voices of Unity Youth Choir, the choir that has performed in China, The Vatican and elsewhere. And while White is grateful for the approbation heaped on the Voices of Unity Youth Choir for its triumphs overseas, he is disheartened that the recognition stops the...

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Gregory Stieber

Gregory Stieber

When it comes to being busy this time of year, Santa and his elves have nothing on Gregory Stieber. As production manager of The Fort Wayne Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker, it’s nothing for Stieber to clock 16-hour days. So when I called him for a scheduled interview at 8:15 on a recent morning I was not surprised to get his voic...

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2017
Lillian Embick

Lillian Embick

The Guinness World Records website lists Viola Cocran of Slidell, Lousiana as the record holder for most volunteer hours worked. Cocran, according to the website, put in 77,019 hours at the Slidell Memorial Hospital between 1959 and 2012, when she retired at age 89. Not to take anything away from Mrs. Cocran’s selfless efforts, but it’s clear...

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2016
Dorothy Kittaka

Dorothy Kittaka

Born in Washington State during World War II, Dorothy Kittaka’s early life was spent at an internment camp along with other Japanese-Americans confined in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack. While that kind of experience can give a young, impressionable child a narrow and frightening view of the world, she now looks back at the one thing which ...

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Liz Monnier

Liz Monnier

After a background in a ballet, tap and gymnastics, Liz Monnier planned to study ballet in college and make that her career. But as she began the audition process, she was told she wasn’t cut out to be a ballerina. At first discouraged, she was also told that if she wanted to study dance, she should consider pursuing a degree in modern dance ins...

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Guy Zimmerman

Guy Zimmerman

When Guy Zimmerman was around five years old, a cousin who was three times his age rode into town on a freight train with his bundle and his guitar. It was the middle of the Great Depression in Milford, Indiana, and Dick Zimmerman, the eldest of the Zimmerman cousins, made a lasting impression on Guy. “He was an honest to goodness railroad bum,...

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2013
Bob Roets

Bob Roets

Thirty-five years ago there were record stores everywhere. Beyond the availability at many department stores and general merchandise chains, stores specializing in selling record albums (those big round vinyl disks which eventually fell out of favor only to be revived a generation later) were plentiful. National brands like Musicland and Camelot w...

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Julia Meek

Julia Meek

Julia Meek seems to be a ubiquitous presence in Fort Wayne. Who hasn’t had the experience of hearing her on the radio one day, seeing her at Hyde Brothers the next, sharing a house with someone who has her art on a T-shirt and looking at pictures of her romantic but unconventional wedding on Facebook – all within a week? Well, maybe not everyo...

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2012
Harvey Cocks

Harvey Cocks

I defy you to name a nicer person than Harvey Cocks. It simply can’t be done. A particularly impressive feat considering he happened to be a Broadway star in the 1940s and 1950s and is one of Fort Wayne’s most prodigious name-droppers. Born 88 years ago (his birthday is in two weeks) in Glen Cove, Long Island, Cocks grew up in vaudeville. Hi...

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2011
Brad Etter

Brad Etter

Few people in Fort Wayne are as endearing and unassuming as Brad Etter, who has turned his passion for music into a calling, a mission to share that passion and bring top flight entertainment to town via some equally unassuming venues. While larger stages like the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, the Embassy Theatre and Piere’s have been host...

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2010
Matt Kelley

Matt Kelley

By the time Matt Kelley was awarded the Special Whammy Award in 2010, he was already very familiar to readers of whatzup and the Fort Wayne community at large. As the founder and head honcho at One Lucky Guitar and a musical performer himself, Kelley has long found ways to bring his creativity and his commitment to Fort Wayne into sha...

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2009
Chuck Surack

Chuck Surack

Fort Wayne can brag of several local businesses which have brought the city into the spotlight, providing economic development opportunities which have helped raise the profile and built the region for greater growth in the future. One of the best examples of that is Sweetwater Sound, a corporate partner for many of the local arts organizations a...

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2004
Richard Reprogle

Richard Reprogle

Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Richard Reprogle knew from an early age that he wanted a career in music. In fact, it was the only thing he ever wanted. “I was always pulled toward music. I was in the third grade the first time I sang in front of people, and since then I was fixated. I was kind of a clown in school, but I always got A...

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2002
Rick

Rick "Doc" West

When Fort Wayne’s radio icon Doc West first arrived in Fort Wayne in the summer of 1979, he really had no intention of making the city his home, much less of becoming one of its best known and most beloved media personalities. Drawn to radio by his love of music, West moved to Indiana from a job in Columbus, Ohio where he first experienced the b...

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2001
H. Stanley Liddell

H. Stanley Liddell

When Stan Liddell was presented with the first Special Whammy for his contributions to Fort Wayne’s music scene – an award which now bears his name – there were already many reasons to appreciate his ample impact on northeast Indiana. Aside from what his entertainment complex Piere’s has brought to the city, whatzup publisher Doug Driscoll...

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