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Nebraska cultural trailblazer to receive 2016 Sower Award

Humanities Nebraska announced that Marian Andersen of Omaha will receive the 2016 Sower Award in the Humanities. A dedicated volunteer and long-time supporter of many different arts and humanities organizations in the state, Mrs. Andersen will be honored on Tuesday, September 27 at a benefit reception and dinner at Lincoln’s Embassy Suites hotel. The 21st Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities will follow at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

The Sower Award is presented annually to “an individual who has made a significant contribution to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.” This contribution can be through any combination of time, expertise, or resources, and the selection committee examines how the nominee has helped inspire and enrich personal and public life in our state through the humanities.

Humanities Nebraska board member and Sower Award committee chair Mary Lopez noted, “The committee selected Marian from a strong group of excellent nominees. Marian’s appreciation and support of our history and culture in Nebraska is only surpassed by her deep, genuine and delightful interest in people.”

Mrs. Andersen was nominated by Diny Landen of Omaha, with enthusiastic letters of support from several different Nebraskans.

In her support letter, Nebraska Shakespeare executive director Mary Ann Bamber stated, “Marian’s contagious enthusiasm, insightful leadership, pioneering spirit, energy for life-long learning and measurable impact on the quality of life for thousands of Nebraskans model the qualities that earn recognition of this caliber.” Mrs. Andersen has served as co-founding chair and is an active board member for Nebraska Shakespeare.

“Marian has promoted ways of sharing America’s vast cultural heritage with the citizens of Nebraska,” added Mid America Arts Alliance (MAAA) volunteer board member Ruth Keene in her support letter. “Lectures, art exhibits and theatre presentations in Nebraska often have a direct tie to Marian.”

Audrey S. Kauders, director of the Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA) in Kearney, said that Mrs. Andersen, “has a particular depth of feeling for the humanities…As a born and bred Nebraskan, she is interested in Nebraska’s past as it shapes the state’s future.”

A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Marian Andersen was at times the first woman to lead the boards of directors she served on. She was the first woman (and first non-Lincoln resident) to chair the University of Nebraska Foundation board of directors, and the first to chair the Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross. Nationally, she became a vice chairman for the American Red Cross and a director for the Public Broadcasting System. For many years following its inception, Mrs. Andersen was a co-chair of Nebraska Shakespeare (for which she remains an active board member). She is an emeritus trustee with Doane College and the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, a former governor of the Joslyn Art Museum, a director emeritus for the Literacy Center of the Midlands, and the Mid America Arts Alliance, and a past board member of the Museum of Nebraska Art, Nebraska Arts Council and Nebraska Humane Society.

Mrs. Andersen is also a legacy donor to the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, a member of the United Way of the Midlands Tocqueville Women’s Initiative, and the Nebraska Press Women’s Hall of Fame is named in her honor.

The 2016 Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities is presented by Humanities Nebraska, along with partner sponsors E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues and the University of Nebraska, with major funding from the Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfire Initiative. Catherine Lange and Carol Rempp are co-chairs for this event, which will include the free public lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario, titled, “Enrique’s Journey and America’s Immigration Dilemma.”

The 7:30 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public. Table sponsorships and tickets for the pre-lecture benefit reception and dinner are now available for purchase. For more details visit

Humanities Nebraska programming is made possible by:

and generous individuals, foundations, and businesses across Nebraska.