2017: The Honorable Mike Johanns, Former Governor, United States Senator, and Secretary of Agriculture

2016: Mr. & Mrs. Bill & Evonne Williams, creators of Remembering Our Fallen

2016: Rev. Ray S. Wilke, President of the Orphan Grain Train

2015: The Honorable Chuck Hagel, Former Secretary of State

2014: The Honorable Doug Bereuter Former United States Congressman

2013: The Honorable Ben Nelson, Former United States Senator

2012: Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson of Radio One, Inc.

2011: Clayton Anderson, NASA Astronaut

2010: Ted Sorenson, (posthmously) Former Special Counsel and Adviser to President John F. Kennedy

2009: Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Co-Founder of the Raikes Foundation

2008: Walter Scott, Jr., Director and Chairman Emeritus of Peter Kiewit Sons’, Inc.

2007: The Honorable Clayton Yeutter, former Secretary of Agriculture

2006: Duane Acklie, chief counsel for Crete Carrier Corp

2005: The Honorable Bob Kerrey, United States Senator; The Honorable Hal Daub, United States House of Representatives

2004: Alexander Payne, Film Writer, Director, Producer

2003: The late Don O. Clifton, Ph.D., Chairman; James K. Clifton, Chairman and CEO, The Gallup Organization

2002: The Honorable Bill Barrett, United States House of Representatives

2000: Chip Davis, Musician

1999: The Honorable Helen Boosalis, City of Lincoln Former Mayor and Nebraska Department of Aging Director

1998: Jack McBride, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission; Ron Hull, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission

1997: The Honorable J. James Exon, United States Senator and Governor of Nebraska

1996: The Honorable Tom Osborne, United States House of Representatives and Former Head Football Coach, UNL

1994: Lee G. Simmons, D.V.M.; Eugene T. Mahoney; Henry Doorly Zoo

1993: Peter G. Peterson, Financier, Cabinet Member, and Author

1992: Roger Lee Welsch, Author and Folk Humorist

1991: Charles Michael Harper, ConAgra, Inc., Chairman of the Board & CEO

1990: The Honorable Virginia Dodd Smith, United States House of Representatives

1989: Harold Wayne Anderson, Omaha World Herald Publisher; Marian Battey Anderson, Civic Leader

1988: Durward B. Varner, University of Nebraska Foundation Chairman

1987: The Honorable Robert Van Pelt, United States District Judge

1986: Reuben A. Snake, Jr., Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska Chairman and National Congress of American Studies President; Rose Blumkin, Nebraska Furniture Mart Founder and Chairman

1985: Lewis Lehr, 3M Company Chairman and CEO; The Honorable Frank B. Morrison, Sr., Governor of Nebraska

1984: Julie Vollertsen, United States Olympic Medalist; Lisa Rohde, United States Olympic Medalist; Jim Hartung, United States Olympic Medalist

1983: Richard E. Spelts, The First National Bank of Grand Island President and CEO

1982: The Honorable Carl T. Curtis, United States Senator

1981: The Reverend Robert P. Hupp, Father Flannagan’s Boys Home Executive Director

1980: The Honorable Robert Keith Gray, Gray and Company Chairman of the Board and CEO

1979: Willis A. Strauss, Northern Natural Gas Company Chairman of the Board and CEO

1978: Ron McDole, Washington Redskins; Pat Fischer, Washington Redskins

1977: The Honorable Roman L. Hruska, United States Senator

1976: Howard Hanson, Composer

1975: Peter Kiewit, Jr., Peter Kiewit Sons, Inc., Chairman of the Board & CEO

1974: Loren C. Eiseley, Professor of Anthropology and the History of Science, University of Pennsylvania

1973: Leo A. Daly, Leo A. Daly Company President

1972: James Keogh, Author and Editor

1971: Mrs. A. Bromley Sheldon, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, UNL

1970: General Albert C. Wedemeyer, US Air Force

1969: Edd H. Bailey, Union Pacific Railroad President

1968: Arjay Miller, Ford Motor Company, Vice Chairman of the Board

1967: V.J. Skutt, Mutual of Omaha Chairman of the Board and CEO

1966: Alfred M. Guenther, US Army

1965: Bob Gibson, Pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals; Robert S. Devaney, Head football coach, University of Nebraska

1964: Reverend Gerald T. Bergen, Omaha Archbishop

1963: Clair M. Reddig, The Association of Western Railways