Friends of the Center for Great Plains Studies

Letter from Center Director Richard Edwards:

December 1, 2013

I hope you’ll consider continuing as a Friend of the Center for Great Plains Studies.

Why give to the Center? Our region was first belittled as The Great American Desert and later dismissed as “fly-over country,” but we who live here know that it is rich in biodiversity and human imagination. And the folks who founded the Center, led by Paul Olson, believed the Great Plains needed a special place to foster study of its people, cultures, and environment. Since 1976 the Center has provided a crucial rallying point for scholars studying the region and for programs designed to share their discoveries. We depend on your support for the margin that moves us from good to excellent.

This past year the Center was buzzing with projects, activities, and partnerships:

  • Our Great Plains Graduate Fellows program brought twelve bright and accomplished graduate students into the Center; they assist faculty, editors, and visiting scholars as well as conduct their own research.
  • We opened the newly-constructed Graduate Fellows Commons (on the mezzanine of the Great Plains Gallery); if you haven't seen it, stop by and take a look. And while there, give us your take as well on the new decor in the lobby, the new Art Museum logo, and the new signs outside the building.
  • Our 2013 Great Plains Symposium, held at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on "Rural Communities and School Consolidation," was we think a big success. It included talks by the Governor and Speaker of the Nebraska legislature as well as a good number of scholars. Judge for yourself the quality of the presentations – ten of the best are printed in a special issue (Fall, 2013) of Great Plains Research.
  • Our "Conservation Jam," in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, gave fifteen environmental speakers the floor for 3 minutes each (!) to explain how to "Save the Great Plains." We drew 350 people, with standing-room only and some off the mezzanine.
  • The Great Plains Art Museum mounted six major exhibitions, and the Lincoln Journal Star named three of them among the ten best art shows of 2012. We presented Michael Forsberg's "America's Lingering Wild" and hosted Molly Murphy as our "artist-in-residence," where visitors (including lots of school children) can watch the artist work.
  • The 2013 Great Plains Book Prize was awarded to William Farr for Blackfoot Redemption, an account of a Native man “lost” for years in a Washington mental hospital.

Okay, that’s the past year – what’s coming up?

  • Our 2014 Symposium, the Center’s 40th, is called "Drought in the Life, Culture, and Landscapes of the Great Plains." Don Wilhite and Mike Hayes are the organizers. Speakers include New Yorker writer Ian Frazier and Harvard’s Richard Hornbeck, among others. We are collaborating with the National Drought Mitigation Center and Water for Food Institute.
  • Our 2015 Symposium will be on "Standing Bear and the Trail Ahead." Our partner here is Judi gaiashkibos and the Nebraska State Commission on Indian Affairs.
  • Our journals, Great Plains Quarterly and Great Plains Research, have completed the transition to online (plus print) publication by the University of Nebraska Press; starting in January, they will be available through Project MUSE, extending their readership to literally hundreds and hundreds of campuses across the country and around the world.
  • Our Olson Seminar lectures this spring include Timothy Schaffert (UNL English) speaking on the 1898 Omaha Trans-Mississippi Exposition, Derek Hoff (K-State economic historian) discussing population decline in the Great Plains, and former UNL-er Miguel Carranza (now at UMissouri-KC) speaking on immigration policy and consequences

Much else is happening, please see the full listing on this website.

So, please continue your support of the Center. You can do so by returning the enclosed form or going online at We’ll use your money well, and be very grateful. (Contributions to the University Foundation are typically tax-deductible.) I wish you a happy holiday and healthy and prosperous New Year.

Sincerely yours, Richard Edwards Director


Or request a mailed friend form from

Friends benefits

If you become a Friend of the Center, you will receive:

  • An email announcement of every Center event, including Olson Lectures, the annual Great Plains Symposium, and special events like last January's "Conservation Jam"
  • An email announcement when a new issue of Great Plains Quarterly or Great Plains Research is published, with the issue's Table of Contesnts; if you have access to Project MUSE (for example, through a university library), you will be able to read online any article that interests you.
  • Invitations to Great Plains Art Museum gallery exhibit openings and special events
  • A map of the "Top 50 Ecotourism Sites in the Great Plains" produced by the Center
  • The knowledge that you are helping to keep the Plains at the forefront of scholarship and policy.

Giving Levels:

  • Benefactor: $1,000
  • Patron: $500
  • Sponsor: $250
  • Sustaining: $150
  • Family: $75
  • Individual: $50