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Concert poster: "Louis Sudler, Baritone of Distinction"


Before his death, Louis Sudler, a Chicago industrialist to whom the arts had been a major source of life satisfaction, endowed an annual prize in the arts at fourteen major universities:  Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, MIT, University of Chicago, Michigan State, Oberlin College, Purdue University, Duke, Rice, and Stanford.

At each institution, an annual prize in the creative and performing arts is awarded to the graduating senior who has demonstrated the most distinguished record of excellence in performance or creation in one of the following areas:  music, theater, painting, dance, design, film, creative writing, and other areas of the arts (as determined by each institution).

At Duke, the award is made by the Vice Provost for the Arts.

Prize Details

Each year the Office of Vice Provost for the Arts awards a cash prize of $2,000 to the graduating senior selected as the outstanding student in the creative and performing arts. Students do not apply directly for the award but rather are nominated by arts department chairs, who are invited to forward one nomination each.

Nomination Guidelines

Applications are assembled and submitted by Duke arts departments.

  • The centerpiece of the application is a letter of nomination from the head of the unit, which should be comprehensive and persuasive.
  • At least one (more if appropriate) additional letter of recommendation from faculty members or others in the university community who can speak to the candidate’s qualifications and accomplishments. Please limit supporting letters to three total.
  • If nominated, students should provide their departments with the following:
    • A one-page résumé listing the student’s activities in the arts at Duke, and any special projects or achievements off campus.
    • An artist statement (350 words maximum) in which the student gives their philosophy of artistic practice and a sense of how their artistic education at Duke has shaped that philosophy.
    • Electronic/digitized samples of the student’s creative/performing work (recordings, portfolios, reviews, published writing, scripts, etc.).
      • Nominating departments should reach out to if there are student materials that cannot be provided electronically. Please note, Duke Arts cannot be responsible for any non-electronic materials of value.

Any electronic samples should be submitted in one of the following formats:

  • image: jpeg or pdf
  • text: ms word, rtf, or pdf
  • audio: mp3, acc, or ogg
  • video: quicktime (mov) or mpeg (mp4 or m4v)


The nomination packet should be sent electronically to by 5pm on Monday, April 1st, 2024.


Past Winners

  • 1983: Shayne Doty — Music (organ performance)
  • 1984: Susan Dobbins — Studio Art
  • 1985: Virginia Webb — Dance performance
  • 1986: Scott McRae — Drama (playwriting)
  • 1987: Carol Fitzgerald — Creative Writing
  • 1988: Hayle Brinkman — Studio Art
  • 1989: Raymond Loewy — Music (performance and composition)
  • 1990: Trevor Anthony — Drama (acting)
  • 1991: Jonathan Hexner — Studio Art
  • 1992: Carol Mathis — Film and Video
  • 1993: Kimberly Haynes — Music (vocal performance)
  • 1994: Rob Milazzo — Drama (directing)
  • 1995: Susan B.A. Somers‑Willett — Institute of the Arts (multidisciplinary)
  • 1996: Amanda Exley — Dance (performance, choreography)
  • 1997: Heather Seybolt — Film and Video (multidisciplinary)
  • 1998: Derek Kwan — Music (performance)
  • 1999: Adam Saunders — Drama (acting, playwriting)
  • 2000: Chris Dyer — Music (performance)
  • 2001: Kristin Posehn — Visual Art
  • 2002: Orlee Gober — Dance (performance, choreography)
  • 2003: Erik Ryan Simpson — Music (performance, composition)
  • 2004: Jesse Belsky — Theater/Dance (lighting design)
  • 2005: Amit Mahtaney — Theater (acting, directing)
  • 2006: Rahul Satija — Music (performance)
  • 2007: William Kennedy — Creative Writing
  • 2007: Martin Zimmerman — Theater Studies
  • 2008: Adam Eaglin — Creative Writing/English
  • 2009: Audrey Fenske — Dance
  • 2009: Gretchen Taylor Wright — Theater Studies
  • 2010: Danya Taymor — Theater Studies
  • 2011: Sarah Goetz — Arts of the Moving Image Program / Art, Art History and Visual Studies
  • 2012: Monica Hogan — Dance
  • 2012: Ali Yalgin — Theater Studies (playwriting)
  • 2013: Sarah Van Name — Literature
  • 2014: Wenjia Xu — Music
  • 2015: Lauren Rose Henschel — Art, Art History and Visual Studies
  • 2016: Kari Barclay — Theater Studies
  • 2017: Danielle Mayes — Center for Documentary Studies
  • 2018: Jeainny Kim — Center for Documentary Studies
  • 2019: Evan Morgan — Arts of the Moving Image
  • 2020: Thandolwethu Mamba — Music
  • 2021: No award
  • 2022: Bryan Tong — Music
  • 2023: Nathaniel Maxwell — Music
Thandolwethu Mamba
Young woman in front of two photographs on a gallery wall.