Wayne State University

The Bonner Award

The Bonner Award is named in honor of Dr. Thomas N. Bonner, past president of Wayne State University and The Academy of Scholars. In the spirit of Dr. Bonner's commitment to strengthening programs in arts and sciences, the prize was established in 2000 to recognize the best recent book in English on the theory and practices of the Liberal Arts, with special consideration given to studies bridging the "two cultures" of the sciences and the humanities.


The prize of $2500 is awarded in a two-year cycle to a book published within the cycle. In the second year, a Call for Nominations is issued with an early December deadline. All nominations must be accompanied by two copies of a book, as indicated in the instructions below. The recipient of the Prize is announced by spring of the following year and the author(s) invited to participate in a symposium on the book in the fall on the Wayne State University campus.


In the competition for books published in 2000 and 2001, the prize was awarded to The Sacred and the Secular University, published by Princeton University Press in 2000. Co-authors John H. Roberts and James Turner examine the transformation that colleges and universities in the United States underwent between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of World War I. They identify the forces and events that dissolved the Protestant framework of learning, with particular attention to the role that study of sciences and of humanities played in establishing a new secularized curriculum and the modern university.


In the competition for books published in 2002 and 2003, the prize was awarded to J. Michael Bishop for How to Win the Nobel Prize: An Unexpected Life in Science. Published in 2003 by Harvard University Press, the book intertwines two strands of medical history: ongoing struggles to control infectious diseases and efforts to find and attack causes of cancer. Alongside this account, Bishop traces his personal evolution from a young humanist to an ambivalent medical student, an accidental microbiologist, and finally, along with Harold Varmus, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for the discovery that normal genes under certain conditions can cause cancer.


The recipient for books published 2004 and 2005 was Professor John Paul Russo from the University of Miami. His book, The Future Without A Past: The Humanities in a Technological World, published by the University of Missouri Press, argues that we are undergoing a transformation at the hands of a technological society and discusses how it has negatively impacted our educational system. The recipient for books published in 2006 and 2007 was Barbara Maria Stafford of the University of Chicago for her book, Echo Objects: The Transformative Work of Images, published by the University of Chicago Press. The prize for books published in 2008 and 2009 was Cathy Gere of the University of California, San Diego for her book, Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism, also published by the University of Chicago Press. The prize for 2012 was awarded to Michael Marmor and James Ravin for their book, The Artist’s Eyes: Vision and the History of Art, published by Abrams Press. A new prize will be awarded in 2014-15 for a book published in the prior two years.


For further information, contact Robert N. Frank, M.D. The Robert S. Jampel, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Ophthalmology and Professor of Anatomy/Cell Biology at rnfrank@med.wayne.edu or telephone at (313) 577-7613. Books to be sent as entries in the current (2013-15) award competition should be sent to Dr. Frank at the Kresge Eye Institute, 4717 Saint Antoine Street, Detroit, MI 48201.


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