S.D. Humanities Council Honors Four for Contributions to S.D.

Librarian, Book Festival Authors, Donor Receive Distinguished Achievement in Humanities Awards

Three people and one organization have been selected by the South Dakota Humanities Council for 2018 Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities awards for their contributions to humanities in South Dakota.

Maria Gruener, Patrick Hicks, Larson Family Foundation and Joseph Marshall III will be honored at the 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books in Brookings Sept. 21.

Per the award guidelines, the four honorees demonstrate a commitment to scholarly and cultural advocacy around South Dakota. They present humanities-related events and programs, write books and publications important to the humanities and provide funding or partnerships to sustain a vibrant cultural landscape.

Joseph Marshall III poses with a group of children at his bow camp. Marshall III and the other three honorees have made significant contributions to humanities in South Dakota.

Joseph Marshall III poses with a group of children at his bow camp. Marshall III and the other three honorees have made significant contributions to humanities in South Dakota.

Award Ceremony Precedes Special Brookings Event

The award ceremony precedes "The Great American Read Special Event: An Evening with Alice Sebold, in Conversation with SDPB's Lori Walsh," at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21. Presiding over the ceremony is SDHC Chair Judith Meierhenry, assisted by SDHC Secretary Eric Abrahamson and SDHC executive director Sherry DeBoer. The ceremony will be held at the Performing Arts Center, Larson Memorial Concert Hall, 1601 University Blvd. in Brookings. Visit our schedule page for more information about 2018 Festival events in Brookings and Sioux Falls. 

Read About the 2018 Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities Honorees

Librarian: Maria Gruener, Watertown 

Maria Gruener is from Watertown, where she works as Assistant Director at Watertown Regional Library and is the current Vice President/President Elect for the South Dakota Library Association board. She is a community leader and volunteer and has coordinated numerous SDHC events at the library, including annual One Book South Dakota discussions, and has hosted or volunteered with One Book Author Tour events. She is also a contributor to the "LibraryReads" List.

She graduated from Emporia State University with a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science and has served on the South Dakota Library Association Executive Board for five years. Maria became interested in SDHC when she began hosting One Book South Dakota and other SDHC grant-funded events for her community.


Scholar—Academic and Author: Patrick Hicks, Sioux Falls

Patrick Hicks is a professor and Augustana University Writer-in-Residence. He is a South Dakota Humanities Council Speakers Bureau scholar and frequent Festival of Books presenter since 2006. A former Visiting Fellow at Oxford, he gives fiction and poetry readings throughout the nation, and has written more than 10 books, including "The Collector of Names," "Adoptable," "This London," and the critically and popularly acclaimed "The Commandant of Lubizec."

Aside from his work appearing on NPR, American Life in Poetry, and the PBS NewsHour, he has won grants from the Bush Foundation, the South Dakota Arts Council, and the Loft Literary Center.


Donor/Organization: Larson Family Foundation, Brookings

The Larson Family Foundation was created in 1990 by Dale Larson, former CEO and President of Larson Manufacturing Company. Headquartered in Brookings, Larson Manufacturing is the nation's largest manufacturer of storm doors and storm windows. Dale Larson established the foundation to give back to the state of South Dakota, which has played a significant role in the growth and prospering of the family-owned company. The Foundation first partnered with the SDHC in 2008 to establish the Center for the Book. The Larson Family Foundation has provided major financial support for major South Dakota Humanities Council Challenge Initiatives. Most recently, the foundation provided strategic contributions to two community foundation incentive programs and the NEH Access Challenge Grant for Young Readers —allowing SDHC to meet their goals in the three campaigns. The foundation was created by the Larson family to share its good fortune with the people of South Dakota with a focus on helping people in need to achieve a better quality of life.


Author: Joseph Marshall III, Rio Rancho, N.M. (formerly White River, S.D.)

An enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe, Joseph Marshall III has published non-fiction work, novels, short stories, and screenplays. His book "The Journey of Crazy Horse" was the 2011 One Book South Dakota, and his book for young readers, "In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse," is the state's 2018 selection for the 52 Great Reads list at the National Book Festival. Marshall has appeared in television documentaries and the network movie "Return to Lonesome Dove," served as technical advisor for several productions, and narrated the six-part miniseries "Into the West." Marshall III was born and raised on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. He taught at the high school and university levels for a few years before he published his first book. Books numbers 21 and 22 are coming out in 2019. He was one of the founding board members of Sinte Gleska University. He shares his time between South Dakota and New Mexico.


Read About More Festival of Books Authors and Events

Hicks and Marshall III are just two of the more than 60 authors featured at the 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books, featuring events in Brookings and Sioux Falls Sept. 20-23. Click below for a free download of our South Dakota Festival of Books Guide produced by South Dakota Magazine.