PORTLAND — Joseph Conforti, a distinguished professor of New England studies at the University of Southern Maine, has received the Constance Carlson Public Humanities Award from the Maine Humanities Council, school officials announced today.

Conforti received the award on April 2 in a ceremony at the university’s Glickman Family Library.

In presenting the award, council members said Conforti is revered by humanities organizations statewide for his generosity and accessibility, school officials said.

Conforti was the founding director of USM’s American and New England Studies program in 1987 and served as a professor and program director for 10 years. He continues to teach in the program and plans to retire at the end of this year.

Conforti has written five books on New England, including “Imagining New England: Explorations of Regional Identity from the Pilgrims to the Twentieth Century” and “Saints and Strangers: New England in British North America.” He also edited and contributed to “Creating Portland: History and Place in Northern New England.”

Conforti has received the Richard Beale Davis Prize from the Modern Language Association and the Peter Rollins Book Prize from the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association.