Priscilla Grew was recognized by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Emeriti and Retirees Association at its first meeting Sept. 24. The meeting, held virtually via Zoom, was hosted by Chancellor Ronnie Green.
Grew is former vice chancellor for research, former director of the University of Nebraska State Museum, and the university’s coordinator for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
She received the Wisherd Award for Outstanding Service to the university, which recognizes contributions to university-affiliated organizations. Since retiring in 2015, Grew has continued as NAGPRA coordinator in a volunteer capacity; remained active in Friends of the University of Nebraska State Museum; and is a stalwart supporter of the arts, including the Lied Center where she helped start the Dance Circle, which brings major dance companies to Lincoln.
"Priscilla retired in 2015 after 22 years of distinguished leadership," Green said, "but going off the payroll did not dampen her commitment to serving UNL. She has continued to serve as the UNL NAGPRA coordinator on a volunteer basis, spending time in the museum each week working with the Museum's collections. Since 1993 the remains of more than 2,000 Native Americans have been repatriated, and she is currently working on a number of very complex cases.
"Priscilla also has remained active in the University of Nebraska State Museum Friends organization, supporting the development of new exhibits like "Cherish Nebraska" which opened on the fourth floor in 2019.
"Finally, Priscilla also has been a longtime supporter of the arts at UNL, particularly the Lied Center for Performing Arts. When the Lied launched an initiative to bring the world's top dance companies to Lincoln, Priscilla set the pace by becoming the first member of the Dance Circle, a major donor support group."
The award carries a $500 honorarium and all recipients donated their honoraria to the university’s Emergency Aid to Students program.
Vice Chancellor Emeritus Jim Griesen, nominated Grew for the award.
"When the time came to decide where to live after I retired in 2015," Grew said, "my husband Ed and I agreed that remaining in Lincoln would give me the best chance to find happiness and fulfilment after retirement. I am so glad I stayed on here!"
Wisherd awards memorialize Maude Wisherd, who was a librarian at Nebraska from 1916-1955. After retiring, she worked at the historical society for another 10 years. During her lifetime, faculty received very little in retirement benefits; Wisherd helped establish the Emeriti Association in 1961 to help destitute retirees. She died in 1978. Her only survivor, a sister, Zelma, herself a Nebraska graduate, left 20 percent of her estate to the University of Nebraska Foundation to benefit emeriti.