Feb. 3, 2023
shelly lowe standing holding her award next to president robbins and dr. pollard

Chair Lowe (center), pictured alongside Dr. John Pollard (left) and President Robbins (right) was honored at the 2022-23 Alumni of the Year Luncheon, where she received her award alongside other notable University of Arizona Alumni.

shelly lowe pictured alongside two students blue background

The W.A. Franke Honors College acknowledged Chair Shelly Lowe as the 2022-23 Alumni of the Year, one of her numerous accomplishments, at a reception preceding the University of Arizona Alumni of the Year luncheon. Interim Dean Pollard congratulated Chair Lowe, and presented her with an award for her significant contributions and accomplishments that embody the mission of the W.A. Franke Honors College. In receiving the award, she shared about her experience attending the University of Arizona as the first Native American Flinn Scholar, as well as her time in Honors and the experiences and valuable faculty relationships that she still holds dear to this day. There were many students, staff, current and former faculty in attendance of the reception honoring Chair Lowe, and she stayed well beyond the end of the event, chatting with students.

As current Chair of the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH), Lowe spoke on the work that her team does to ensure Humanities programs & institutions across the United States are funded, protected, and strengthened. NEH has internships for both graduate and undergraduate students, and Lowe encouraged Franke Honors students in attendance at the reception to apply. Learn more about the National Endowment of the Humanities and available opportunities by visiting

Shelly C. Lowe is a citizen of the Navajo Nation who grew up in Ganado, Arizona. The first Native American Flinn Scholar, she earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Arizona in 1997, then a master’s degree in 2005. Shelly initially pursued a career in academia, where she quickly earned a reputation as a gifted teacher and educational leader. Beginning at UArizona’s American Indian Studies program, she later served as assistant dean and director of Yale’s Native American Cultural Center and executive director of Harvard’s Native American Program. In 2015, President Obama appointed Shelly to the National Council on the Humanities. In 2022, following her nomination by President Biden, a bipartisan Senate vote confirmed Shelly to serve as the chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Shelly also is a passionate advocate for Native American students and families. In addition to her professional roles, she has been a member of the National Indian Education Association and a trustee for the National Museum of the American Indian. Lowe has remained an ardent supporter of the university, serving on alumni and college boards.