National Humanities Center Names
New Trustees, Chairman
News Release Date: January 5, 2005
Research Triangle Park, N.C.The board of trustees of the National Humanities Center has elected five new trustees, and named Francis Oakley to succeed John P. Birkelund as chairman.
The new board members are Richard Brodhead, Frances Ferguson, Thomas J. Scherer, Hedrick Smith, and Robert K. Steel.
"We are extremely pleased to welcome five individuals who collectively have distinguished themselves in the academy, in journalism, and in international finance," said Geoffrey Harpham, the Center's president and director. "We are pleased, too, that in Frank Oakley our board has chosen a successor to John Birkelund who is both a distinguished scholar and an experienced executive. Frank exemplifies the worldly wisdom that characterizes the board as a whole."
Oakley is the Edward Dorr Griffin Professor of the History of Ideas Emeritus and President Emeritus at Williams College, where he is currently a senior fellow at the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences. He is also president emeritus and past chair of the American Council of Learned Societies in New York. He is the author of numerous books, articles, and reviews on medieval and early modern intellectual and religious history and on matters pertaining to contemporary American higher education. Oakley's most recent book, The Conciliarist Tradition: Constitutionalism in the Catholic Church, 1300-1870, was awarded the Sixteenth Century Society's Roland H. Bainton History Prize for 2004.
"John Birkelund's leadership has been characterized by an unswerving commitment to the unfettered intellect," said Oakley. "Under his dedicated guidance the Center has dramatically strengthened its fellowship and education programs while more than tripling the endowment that sustains it."
Brodhead joins the board as the president of Duke University. Before coming to Duke in July 2004, he was at Yale University for nearly 35 years, earning three degrees and becoming a distinguished member of the English department before being named dean of Yale College in 1993. A specialist in nineteenth-century literature, Brodhead is the author of The Good of This Place: Values and Challenges in College Education; Cultures of Letters: Scenes of Reading and Writing in Nineteenth-Century America; and The School of Hawthorne.
Ferguson, a 2003-04 fellow of the Center, is the George W. Pullman Professor of English at the University of Chicago, where her teaching and scholarship focuses on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century materials and twentieth-century literary theory. Her books include Wordsworth: Language as Counter-Spirit; Solitude and the Sublime: Romanticism and the Aesthetics of Individuation; and Pornography, the Theory: What Utilitarianism Did to Action.
Scherer is general counsel and senior managing director at Swiss Re Financial Services Corp., which he joined in 2002 after serving as a managing director at Morgan Stanley. He specializes in legal matters relating to international financial services. Scherer holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Princeton University and a law degree from Columbia University.
Smith is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, the author of several best-selling books, and the creator and host of nineteen award-winning PBS prime-time specials and miniseries, many of which are in wide use in university-level courses. A New York Times correspondent for twenty-six years in Washington, Moscow, Cairo, Saigon, Paris, and the American South, Smith was a member of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for producing the Pentagon Papers series. His books include The Russians; The Power Game: How Washington Works; The New Russians; and Rethinking America. Smith served as a trustee of Williams College from 1982 to 1997.
Steel is an advisory director at Goldman Sachs, where he previously served as vice chairman with responsibilities for the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities and Equities divisions. A native of Durham, N.C., Steel has served as a member of the New York Stock Exchange and a member of the board of directors of the Securities Industry Association. He is a graduate of Duke University and serves as vice chair of Duke's board of trustees and chairman of the Duke University Management Company. He chaired the university committee that selected Brodhead to replace Nannerl O. Keohane as president.
The National Humanities Center (nationalhumanitiescenter.org) is the nation's only private, independent institute for advanced study in the humanities. Since 1978, nearly 1,000 scholars from across the United States and around the world have researched and written more than 900 books during fellowships at the Center's Research Triangle Park facility. The Center also sponsors award-winning programs through which leading scholars work with high school and college teachers to improve teaching in the nation's schools and colleges, and holds conferences, seminars, and other public programs to raise and explore basic issues affecting human beings and their societies.
National Humanities Center
7 Alexander Drive, P.O. Box 12256
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709-2256 USA
Phone: (919) 549-0661 Fax: (919) 990-8535
Copyright © 2005 National Humanities Center. All rights reserved.
Revised: January 2005