Humanities Nebraska recently announced that Jane Renner Hood will receive the 2013 Sower Award in the Humanities. Hood will be honored on October 30, immediately prior to the 18th annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha.
Hood retired as executive director of the Nebraska Humanities Council (now known as Humanities Nebraska) in 2010 after working for 23 years to provide public access to the humanities. During Hood’s time as director, the organization awarded more than $3.8 million in grants to Nebraska organizations in support of 1,926 humanities-related projects. The non-profit organization also provided 8,900 Speakers Bureau programs and 48 Chautauquas throughout the state. Six Museum on Main Street exhibitions from the Smithsonian toured through 31 different communities, 263 Nebraska high school teachers and classes from 82 different schools explored global issues through Capitol Forum on America’s Future, and more than 3,500 children and parents in 14 different communities were reached through the Prime Time reading and discussion program.
Hood’s dedication to the humanities expanded beyond her official position at the Nebraska Humanities Council to include volunteer service with other organizations that has continued into her retirement. Since 2010, Hood has continued to serve on the board of directors of the Cooper Foundation, as a member of the Downtown Lincoln Rotary Club #14, and as a volunteer with the Willa Cather Foundation. She has added to that service on the boards of the Lincoln Literacy Council, Doane College, and the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries. Hood is a member of the history curriculum committee for OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at UNL, and of the community advisory committee for the University of Nebraska Press.
Hood also volunteers her voice for the Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Books program in remembrance of her father, who was blind during the last 10 years of his life.
In her nomination of Jane for the 2013 Sower Award, Gretchen Peters of Gering noted that “Jane has championed many Nebraskans, the young, the forgotten, the solitary writer, the indigenous, the powerful, the creative, the historian.”
Hood was awarded the Catalyst Award by Nonprofit Association of the Midlands (NAM) in 2010 in recognition of her innovative leadership that exemplified the theme of “Passion, Persuasion, and Purpose” in the nonprofit sector. More recently, she received the Nebraska Center for the Book’s 2013 Mildred Bennett Award, which recognizes “an individual who has made a significant contribution to the fostering of the literary tradition in Nebraska.”
Previously, Hood served on the boards of directors of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the Nebraska Public Radio Foundation, and the E.N. Thompson Forum Program Committee. Hood graduated cum laude from Doane College with a bachelor’s in history and holds master’s and doctorate degrees in European history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Humanities Nebraska annually honors individuals, institutions, businesses and communities with its Sower Award 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-born artist Sandra Dunn Mahoney.
The 2013 Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities is presented by Humanities Nebraska and is co-sponsored by Creighton University and the University of Nebraska. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Annette Gordon-Reed will deliver the free public lecture later that evening concerning Thomas Jefferson’s intellectual development. The lecture will draw on research for her forthcoming book, “‘The Most Blessed of Patriarchs’: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of Imagination.” Her collaborator, Peter S. Onuf, will join her on stage after the lecture for further discussion.
The evening lecture is free and open to the public. Tickets for the October 30 pre-lecture reception and dinner, including presentation of the Sower Award, will be available for purchase September 3. For more details visit www.humanitiesnebraska.org.