Kuhlke Humanitarian Award

The Kuhlke Humanitarian Award was created in 1994 to honor Emeritus Professor William Kuhlke and is given to a student leaving the program in recognition of humanitarian service provided to the Department.

Laura Kirk & Jordan Nevels
2024 Recipient Jordan Nevels

Emeritus Professor William Kuhlke is a firm believer in the arts as one of the humanities and its primary purpose to be used as a tool to teach us about ourselves and our neighbors. While on the faculty, Bill insisted that this was not merely the playwright’s job, but the job of everyone involved in the arts community. He believed, he taught, and he exemplified this in his everyday life, and our faculty and staff recognize those same qualities in the recipient.

Bill used the “Kuhlke Krutch" as Prospero’s staff in The Tempest in 1992, and gave the staff to the department after his final performance. When he first envisioned the character’s staff, he saw something shiny and man-made, but when Jim Peterson presented him with a large piece of driftwood that he found at Clinton Lake, Kuhlke fell in love with it. The staff was weathered and twisted, ugly and old, and yet somehow beautiful. Kuhlke felt the natural beauty in the staff symbolized both the character’s faith in reason as the natural path to spiritual purity and his belief in the capacity of knowledge used with reason to make the world a better place.

The Kuhlke Humanitarian Award is presented by nomination and vote of the faculty & staff of the department.

Past Recipients

2024Jordan Nevels
2023Asher Suski
2022Maya Gold
2021Tehreem Chaudhry
2020Lusie Cuskey
2019Brandon Hedger
2018Rana Esfandiary
2017Jordan Michael Grant
2016Gabriel Alaniz
2015Maggie Boyles
2014Hailey Lapin
2013Jenny Curatola
2012Chandra Owenby Hopkins
2011Jacquelyn Koester
2010Elizabeth Elliott, Caleb Stroman
2009Beth Zupek
2008Adam Burnett
2007Kate Giessel
2006Blake Bolan
2005Evan Grosshans
2004Aaron Dyszelski
2003Hannah Ballou
2002Becky Lake
2001Gina Grad
2000Kate Turnbull
1999Kim Miller, Jennette E. Selig
1998Rick Jones
1997Sally Shedd
1996Nick Miller-Schlyer, James Wallert
1995Stacey MacFarlane