The Bonner Award


The 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 $2,500 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.


2017-18 Competition

The winner of the 2017-18 competition has been announced!


Winner 2018

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes
by Adam Rutherford
The Experiment Publishing



Past Recipients

2015-16   Not awarded

Winner 2014

Being Mortal. Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Atul Gawande
Metropolitan Books


Winner 2012

The Artist's Eyes: Vision and the History of Art
by Michael Marmor and James Ravin



Winner 2008

Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism
by Cathy Gere
University of Chicago Press



Winner 2006

Echo Objects: The Transformative Work of Images
by Barbara Maria Stafford
University of Chicago Press



Winner 2004

The Future without a Past: The Humanities in a Technological Society
by John Paul Russo
University of Missouri Press



Winner 2002

How to Win the Nobel Prize: An Unexpected Life in Science
by J. Michael Bishop
Harvard University Press



Winner 2000

The Sacred and the Secular University
by John H. Roberts and James Turner
Princeton University Press



About Thomas N Bonner

The Thomas N. Bonner Book Award is given in memory of former WSU President Thomas N. Bonner. Thomas Neville Bonner was vice president and provost at the University of Cincinnati (1967-71), and president of the University of New Hampshire (1971-74) and president of Union College in Schenectady, N.Y from 1974–78. His final university presidency was as Wayne State University's seventh president from 1978-82. He retired from the Wayne State faculty in 1997 and passed away in 2003 at the age of 80.

A widely known medical historian who taught at WSU as a distinguished professor of history after stepping down from the presidency in 1982, Dr. Bonner was one of the leading medical historians of his generation. He published seven pathmarking books in the field of American medicine. His seminal work, entitled Becoming a Physician: Medical Education in Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States, 1750-1945, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. When he retired, he donated $50,000 to the Academy of Scholars to establish the Thomas N. Bonner Book Award.



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 or telephone at (313) 577-7613. Books to be sent as entries in the next award competition should be sent to Dr. Frank at the Kresge Eye Institute, 4717 Saint Antoine Street, Detroit, MI 48201.