Humanities Nebraska presents the Sower Award in the Humanities annually to honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to the public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska. This contribution can be made through any combination of time, expertise, or resources. The selection committee will consider how nominees have helped enrich the lives of Nebraskans through the humanities: history, literature, culture, philosophy, and all the ways we explore what it means to be human.

Each year, the Sower Award in the Humanities is presented prior to the annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities. The award recipient must be present. In some past years the Sower Award was presented to organizations or communities; as of 2016 only individuals are eligible for nomination. Current board and staff members of Humanities Nebraska are not eligible.

Nominations for the 2021 Sower Award are due June 18. Fill out the online nomination form here. Or, download a printable PDF version to complete and mail. 

Previous honorees have included: 

  • Talented humanities faculty who have taken the humanities to the public beyond their classroom;
  • Committed volunteers dedicating their time and energy to enhancing the cultural life of Nebraska;
  • Thoughtful journalists and filmmakers bringing the humanities to bear on important public issues;
  • Generous philanthropists who have directed significant financial support to humanities-related programs and projects accessible by Nebraskans

Past Sower Award Recipients:

Individuals: Marian Andersen, Robert Audi, Keith Blackledge, Marion Marsh Brown, Gene Bunge, Jack Campbell, State Sen. LaVon Crosby, Nancy Duncan, Walter Friedlander, Judi gaiashkibos, John Gottschalk, Natalie Hahn, Richard Holland, Jane Renner Hood, Ron Hull, Ted Kooser, Frederick Luebke, Robert Manley, Jack McBride, Gary Moulton, Ron Naugle, Robert Nefsky, Paul Olson, Don Pederson, Rhonda Seacrest, Todd Simon, Joe Seger, Bernice Slote, Annette and Paul Smith, Pamela Hilton Snow, Joe Starita, E.N. “Jack” Thompson, Charles “Chuck” Trimble, Morrie Tuttle, Don Welch, and Larry Wewel.

Institutions: Beatrice Public Library, Commercial Federal Savings and Loan, Cooper Foundation, El Museo Latino, Holdrege Public Library, InterNorth Foundation, Peter Kiewit Foundation, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, Nebraska Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Omaha World Herald, Septemberfest Committee of Omaha, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Education Foundation, and the Woods Charitable Fund.

Communities: Aurora, Central City, Chadron, Cozad, David City, Gering, Henderson, Oakland, Scottsbluff, Seward, and Verdigre.

Congratulations to the 2020 Sower Award recipient, Natalie D. Hahn!

Watch her acceptance speech now: