Awards & Fundraising

The Historical Society of Central Florida supports the Orange County Regional History Center’s exhibitions and programming through various fundraising events each year.

John Young History Maker Award

Historical Society Honors
Dr. E. Ann McGee of Seminole State College

The 12th John Young History Maker Celebration will also honor the late Albert Nelson

Presenting Media Sponsor


Please save the date for the Historical Society of Central Florida’s 12th Annual John Young History Maker Celebration on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at the Orange County Regional History Center.

The John Young History Maker Award is given each year to a Central Floridian whose lifetime of achievement has made a historic impact on the community. This year, we honor President E. Ann McGee of Seminole State College, who has led Seminole State for 22 transformative years, guiding its transition from a community college to a dynamic state institution.

The Historical Society will also honor the late Albert Nelson, longtime director of human relations for the City of Orlando, with its History Maker Past award and will announce the recipient of its History Maker Future Award: a scholarship given to an outstanding Central Florida public high school senior.

Please join us for this annual celebration of our heritage: past, present, and future. For sponsorship information, click here.


Previous John Young History Maker Honorees

  • Captain John Young, 2005
  • Colonel Joe Kittinger, 2006
  • Toni Jennings, 2007
  • Charles Gray, 2008
  • Charles Millican, 2010
  • John Hillenmeyer, 2011
  • Ann Sonntag, 2012
  • Rita Bornstein, 2013
  • Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., 2014
  • Dr. John Hitt, 2015
  • Pat Williams, 2017

John Young History Maker Celebration event and Scott Harris Memorial Scholarship Award

The John Young History Maker awards were established in 2005 in honor of Captain John Young, America’s longest-serving astronaut, who grew up in Orlando. The awards reflect the mission of the Historical Society and the History Center: To Honor the Past, Explore the Present, and Shape the Future.

When the awards were established, the John Young History Maker Future Award was designed to recognize a Central Florida high school senior who is attending a four-year college or university with the goal of making a difference (making history) in future lives in a positive way.

The scholarship’s name now honors the late Scott Harris, longtime anchorman at Central Florida News 13 who played an integral role as emcee at the John Young awards programs until his passing in 2011.

Click here to learn more and here to download an application.

Donald A. Cheney Award

The Donald A. Cheney Award was established by the Historical Society of Central Florida to recognize and pay tribute to individuals in the Central Florida community who embody unfailing dedication to the area’s history.

The award is named for Judge Donald A. Cheney, a devoted student and promoter of local history, as well as the founder of the Orange County Historical Society and the Orange County Historical Museum, the forerunners of the current Historical Society and History Center.

Previous Recipients

  • Jean Yothers (1992)
  • Orville R. Davis (1993)
  • Andrew Serros (1994)
  • Dann Pottinger (2002)
  • Grace Chewning (2003)
  • Russell V. Hughes (2005)
  • Robert G. “Bob” Neel (2006)
  • Jerry Chicone Jr. (2007)
  • Andrew Serros (2009)
  • Betty Pfeiffer (2010)
  • William Milligan (2011)
  • Robert N. Serros, M.D. (2012)
  • Joy Wallace Dickinson (2013)
  • Sara Van Arsdel (2014)
  • The Rev. Canon Nelson W. Pinder (2015)
  • Don Price (2016)
  • Joseph Wittenstein (2017)