In 1996, Humanities Nebraska collaborated with Governor Ben Nelson to establish the Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities, an annual event to demonstrate the importance of the humanities in public life. His successors, Governors Mike Johanns, Dave Heineman, and Pete Ricketts have continued to enthusiastically support this lecture series, which is free and open to the public. The lecture features a nationally renowned speaker and is preceded by a benefit dinner. Each year the event alternates between Lincoln and Omaha. When held in Lincoln, the Governor’s Lecture is affiliated with the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues lecture series at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. In addition to bringing a nationally recognized speaker to Nebraska and building a strong working relationship with Nebraska’s governor, the Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities increases public visibility for Humanities Nebraska and its programs and generates income for statewide humanities programs. Annually, Humanities Nebraska honors individuals, institutions, businesses and communities with the Sower Award in the Humanities for contributions to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska, based on nominations and letters of support from the citizens of Nebraska. The Sower Award is an original bronze sculpture by Nebraska artist Sondra Dunn Mahoney.