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Nominations for the 2016 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities

Each year the National Endowment for the Humanities selects an outstanding individual to deliver the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. The lectureship is the highest honor the federal government bestows for achievement in the humanities. Here is a list of previous Jefferson Lecturers.

NEH established the lecture in 1972 to honor the intellectual and civic virtues exemplified by Thomas Jefferson. The lectureship recognizes distinguished contributions to the humanities and provides an occasion for the lecturer to communicate the knowledge and wisdom of the humanities before a broad general audience. The lecturer is expected to give an original and substantive address that is of interest to both scholars and the lay public. The award carries a $10,000 honorarium, an amount that is set by statute in NEH’s authorizing legislation.

In 2015 and 2016 NEH will be observing its 50th anniversary as an independent federal agency. To mark this occasion, we would welcome nominations of individuals who could speak to the enduring importance of the humanities to the nation.


Nominees for the lectureship should be persons who have made significant contributions to the humanities and who have the ability to communicate the knowledge and wisdom of the humanities in a broadly appealing way. Please consult the list of past recipients before submitting a nomination. Self-nominations are not permitted.

Selection Process

The NEH Chairman selects the lecturer with the advice of the National Council on the Humanities, a board of 26 distinguished private citizens who are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. A special committee of the National Council considers the nominees for the award and recommends a list of finalists for additional consideration by the full National Council and the NEH Chairman.


To submit a nomination, please use the online nomination form.

Nominations must be received by close of business, Wednesday, January 28, 2015.


2016 Jefferson Lecture Nomination Form

Qualifications (Please briefly summarize the nominee's qualifications for the lectureship)
Questions about the submission of nominations can be sent to