The 28th Annual Governor's Lecture in the Humanities

"From Moscow to the Lincoln Highway: An Evening with Amor Towles"

October 10, 2023 • Holland Performing Arts Center, Omaha

Best selling author Amor Towles appeared at the 28th annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities on Tuesday, October 10, 2023 as the culminating event of Humanities Week, a celebration of HN’s 50th anniversary year. UMB Bank and Union Pacific were co-sponsors. Nebraska Public Media provided livestream access to the program and will rebroadcast the recording at a later date. 

In conversation with William Padmore, Amor Towles’ talk was based on his three New York Times best sellers: “The Lincoln Highway” (2021), “A Gentleman in Moscow” (2016), and “Rules of Civility” (2011). His first book, “Rules of Civility,” was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011 and has been translated into over 15 languages. In 2012, the novel was optioned to be made into a feature film. His second book, “A Gentleman of Moscow,” stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 52 weeks, and it was named one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR. Translated into more than 35 languages including Russian, it was optioned to be made into a 6-8 hour miniseries starring Ewan McGregor. 

His most recent novel, “The Lincoln Highway,” which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, was one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2021 and the One Book One Lincoln title in 2022. Other accolades include Washington Post Best Book of the Year and #1 on Amazon’s list of the Best Books of the Year. Amor Towles is also the author of the ebook “You Have Arrived at Your Destination,” and his next book will be a collection of short stories to be published in Spring 2024. 

Co-chaired by HN board members Mike Homa and Ana Lopez Shalla, both of Omaha, the lecture was free and open to the public and included presentation of the 2023 Sower Award in the Humanities to Beth S. Dotan, Ph.D. A benefit event prior to the free lecture raised important funds for HN’s statewide programs.

History of Humanities Nebraska's Governor's Lecture

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, Pete Ricketts, and Jim Pillen 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.


Many thanks to these Co-Sponsors, Visionary Sponsors, Grand Benefactors and Benefactors!

An Anonymous Donor in Honor of HN's 50th Anniversary


Visionary Sponsors:

Grand Benefactors:



Cindy & Mogens Bay
Cline Williams
Margaret Hornady-David
DA Davidson
Connie & Todd Duncan
Jack & Judy Ekeler
Kay Fowles
Linda & Mark Graff
Jeff & Judy Greenwald
Jane Renner Hood
Kile & Virginia Johnson
Tara Knapp
Ed & Renee McClymont
Ellen & Chas Lierk /Patty & Terry Miller
Mueller Robak LLC
Nebraska Arts Council
Nebraska Cultural Endowment
Nebraska Wesleyan University
Robert & Mary Nefsky

Glenda Pierce & Jeff Kirkpatrick
Rembolt Ludtke Law Firm
Lynn & Dana Roper
Polina & Bob Schlott
Trixie & David Schmidt
Chuck Shoemaker &
Lynne Friedewald
Speedway Properties
Streck, Inc.
Bill  & Laura Troshynski
Katherine L. Walter
Dr. F. T. Waring
R. Ted & Sheila Weschler
Union Bank and Trust Company
University of Nebraska, Lincoln – Office of the Chancellor
University of Nebraska at Omaha
University of Nebraska at Omaha – College of Arts & Sciences
R. Ted & Sheila Weschler
Kristae & Peter Zandbergen