At its triennial conference, the Kenneth Burke Society gives three awards to KBS members who exemplify high standards in Burkeian scholarship and service, as chosen by the membership and past awardees. The award categories and past recipients are listed here:
- The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in Burke studies. Lifetime Achievement nominees must have been members for at least fifteen years or, in cases where membership records are unclear, must have attended the triennial conference five times and/or served the Society as an officer, conference planner, etc. Previous recipients are Leland Griffin (1990); William Rueckert (1993); Bernard Brock (1993); James Chesebro (1999); Tim Crusius (2002); Jack Selzer (2005); Wayne Booth, Michael Burke, Julie Whitaker (2008); Bryan Crable (2011); James Klumpp (2014), Robert Wess (2017).
- The Distinguished Service Award recognizes extraordinary service to the Society. Distinguished Service nominees must have been members for at least fifteen years or, in cases where membership records are unclear, must have attended the triennial conference five times and/or served the Society as an officer, conference planner, etc. Previous recipients include Sheron Dailey (1990), James Chesebro (1993), Dale Bertelson (1996), Robert Wess (1999), Clarke Rountree (2002), David Blakesley (2005), Mark Huglen (2008), Ann George (2011), Elvera Berry (2014), Ed Appel, Richard Thames, and Herbert Simons (2017).
- The Emerging Scholar Award recognizes the promise of a Burke scholar who has published in the field of Burke students as a graduate student or assistant professor (or, for independent scholars or non tenure-track faculty, within his/her first 6-9 years of work). The Emerging Scholar nominee may be a new Society member. Previous recipients include Debra Hawhee (2002), Ryan Weber and Nathaniel Rivers (2005), Elizabeth Weiser (2008), Kyle Jensen (2011), Kris Rutten (2014), Jouni Tilli (2017).