The Sidney Prize Honors People Doing Incredible Things For Humanity

A sidney prize is an innovative way to honor those doing incredible things for humanity. Whether in the form of writing contests, activism or science prizes, these awards are a wonderful way to show people that it is possible to reach for your dreams while still remaining grounded. They also inspire people to pursue their goals and create impactful change in the world around them.

Each year, New York Times columnist David Brooks announces a set of “Sidney Prizes” for the year’s best long-form essays in politics and culture. His 2020 selections included an essay by Hilton Als on microaggressions in the university environment and a piece by Ed Yong on student hypersensitivity, which he calls “vindictive protectiveness,” that causes mental health problems and leaves students unprepared for real-life situations.

The Hillman Foundation introduced the Hillman Prize program in 1950. The prize honors journalists and writers who pursue social justice and public policy for the common good. The prize also celebrates the value of a free press. The Foundation has awarded over a dozen Hillman Prizes, with the 2024 call for entries opening in January.

This prize honors undergraduate writing that adheres to the high standards of originality and skill exemplified by Sidney Cox in his teaching style and book, Indirections for Those Who Want to Write. Entrants were asked to write an essay that focuses on a contemporary issue relevant to society and demonstrates an attempt at academic excellence. Winners receive a cash prize from Dymocks Books and Tutoring, digital subscriptions to The Herald, a tour of our newsroom, and the opportunity to pitch four additional articles for publication.

A former student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sidney E. Iwanter was a fervent collector of art, a dedicated historian, and a passionate humanist. His passion for preserving the knowledge of the previous generation led him to secretly record the lectures of his professors, including Harvey Goldberg. He donated these recordings, which became known as the Iwanter Bootlegs, to UW-Madison in 2004. This prize, which carries a stipend of $2500, is named in his memory to honor the legacy of scholarship and intellectual curiosity.

History and Art History major Sophia Jactel won the 2019 Sidney Prize for her paper, “Domesticity and Diversions: Josef Israels’ The Smoker as a Symbol of Peasant Culture and the Home in Nineteenth-Century Holland.” Her research was inspired by an exhibit at the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Arts titled Domesticities. Sophia is a member of the senior art history cohort and co-curated the exhibition with her classmates last Fall under the guidance of professor Sally Cornelison.

The Society for the History of Technology has awarded its 2018 Sidney Edelstein Prize to York University professor Edward Jones-Imhotep. This is the first time a Canadian has won this prestigious award, which honors an outstanding scholarly book in the field of the history of technology. Jones-Imhotep, whose book is called The Unreliable Nation: Disasters and History, is one of only two non-American authors to win the prize in its 50-year history.