FREE! And open to the public.
The University of Colorado Boulder’s Center of the American West is proud to present the Wallace Stegner & the Humor Initiative’s Fools for a Day Awards to Senator Alan Simpson, Pete Simpson and their wives Ann and Lynne.
The Center has combined the Stegner Award with the Humor Initiative to celebrate the Simpsons’ contributions to our understanding of the West, and to embrace the opportunity to laugh as we do so.
“As public servants, and as people who have contributed their great gifts as story-tellers to the well-being of the West, the Simpson Family occupy a central place in the cultural identity of the West,” Patty Limerick, Faculty Director of the Center of the American West said. “With the Simpsons in our midst, the West has cornered the market for honest, forthright, and very funny commentary on the whole nation’s successes and defeats, the charms and the vexations, the ideals realized and the ideals still in need of our attention and action.”
Alan Simpson, Former U.S. Senator from Wyoming, spent a career in public service. From Wyoming Assistant Attorney General to City Attorney, he was very active in all civic, community, and state activities. As an author, teacher, and visiting lecturer, he continues to serve on numerous corporate and non-profit boards and travels the country giving speeches. His wife Ann Schroll Simpson’s career varied from teaching, grass roots campaigning, real estate, constituent activities, and social responsibilities. She served as co-chairman of the Congressional Wives Mental Health Committee, as a board member and president of the University of Wyoming Art Museum Board, and as an active fund-raiser for the Art Mobile, which is her brain child.
Pete Simpson, a distinguished and award winning academic, and a notable historian and author, was twice elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives. In line with the Simpson family’s long tradition of public service, he ran for the office of Wyoming Governor in 1986. At the University of Wyoming, Pete Simpson taught a remarkable course in which students explored current issues and, drawing on their instructor’s network of allies and notable figures, proposed bills to the State Legislature. Long before the 2016 armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon, Pete Simpson’s book, A Community of Cattlemen: A Social History of the Cattle Industry in Southeastern Oregon provided a clearheaded and tranquil understanding of that contentious locale. His wife Lynne Simpson’s career spans public administration, public affairs, community theater, the arts, and social services.
Each year, the Center of the American West presents the Wallace Stegner Award to an individual or group of individuals who have made a sustained contribution to the cultural identity of the West through literature, art, history, lore, or an understanding of the West. The Center also presents the Fools for a Day award annually to celebrate those individuals whose skills and temperaments support the central conviction of the Center of the American West: A dose of good humor is essential to constructive public discussion, and not coincidentally, to public health.
Fools for a Day & Wallace Stegner Award recipients include: Sandra Day O’Connor, Former Supreme Court Justice (Stegner); Bob Mankoff, Former Cartoon editor of The New Yorker (Fool); Ted Turner Entrepreneur/Philanthropist (Stegner); JohnMcPhee The New Yorker Contributor & Pulitzer Prize Winner (Stegner).
Thank you to Al and Carol Ann Olson, for their support of the Stegner Award, and to Bill and Jane Reynolds for their support of the Humor Initiative.