The 2021 Grawemeyer Award winners
The 2021 Grawemeyer Award winners

UofL and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary announced 2020 winners of five, $100,000 Grawemeyer Awards Dec. 2-6.

Charles Grawemeyer, a UofL graduate and former seminary trustee, launched the awards program in 1984 to underscore the impact a single idea can have on the world.

The winners are:

  • Lei Liang, a San Diego composer who won the music composition award for his orchestral work evoking the threat climate change poses to humanity
  • Ken Conca, an American University professor who won the world order award for his book challenging the United Nations to rethink how it handles environmental problems
  • Robert Plomin, a King’s College, London, behavioral geneticist who won the psychology award for explaining how DNA influences how we work with the world around us
  • Sarah Fine and Jal Mehta, two scholars who co-won the education award for their study of how to encourage deeper learning in U.S. high schools
  • Stephen J. Patterson, a Willamette University professor who won the religion award for showing how an early Christian creed urging human solidarity applies in modern life

“All of the 2020 winners offer important new insights into some of today’s most significant issues, which is exactly what we seek to reward with these prizes,” said Charles Leonard, Grawemeyer Awards executive director.

“Two winners focus on the threat posed by climate change even though they work in very different fields, while the others broaden our grasp of how genes affect behavior, how American high schools can better prepare students and how an ancient religious creed can help us deal with bigotry, racism and sexism.”

UofL presents the annual prizes in music, world order, psychology and education and gives the religion prize jointly with the seminary. All of the 2020 award recipients will visit Louisville in April to give free, public talks on their winning ideas.