About Oklahoma Humanities
The Power of the Humanities
At Oklahoma Humanities, we use the humanities — history, literature, ethics and culture — to inspire fresh thinking, promote civic engagement and strengthen our democracy.
Since our founding as an independent nonprofit in 1971, our programs, grants, and partnerships have used humanities scholarship to promote critical thinking and community building. Our affiliation with the National Endowment for the Humanities gives us unique access to resources that benefit people and communities across our state.
Democracy Demands Wisdom and Vision
As the leading humanities organization in Oklahoma, we partner with communities and institutions to bring people together across lines of age, background, and politics. Together, we explore the human experience and connect as fellow Oklahomans — and, in the process, inspire each other to think more deeply about our lives, our communities and our democracy.
The mission of Oklahoma Humanities is to strengthen communities by helping Oklahomans learn about the human experience, understand new perspectives and participate knowledgeably in civic life.
The humanities help us understand what it means to be human — and to benefit from the experience, research, and ideas of both leading scholars and everyday citizens. The academic disciplines of the humanities include such fields of learning as history, language, literature, film studies, art history and criticism, archaeology, jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy.
At Oklahoma Humanities, we use the humanities in diverse settings across the state to help all Oklahomans think more deeply about the choices they face at home, at work, in their communities and in our democracy.
We put the humanities into action through innovative programming and collaborations, including:
- Humanities Grants
- Let’s Talk About It reading and discussion program
- Museum on Main Street, a collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution
- Oklahoma Humanities magazine
Each year, our programming, grants, and partnerships engage people across the state with bold ideas — creating new conversations and inspiring civic engagement that strengthens our state.
On average, each year, Oklahoma Humanities:
- Grants over $200,000 to nonprofit organizations
- Leverages $7 in local support for every federal dollar granted
- Serves over 150,000 people through our grant program
- Supports 50 reading and discussion programs through Let’s Talk About It
- Reaches 3,000 Let’s Talk About It participants
- Distributes 24,000 free copies of Oklahoma Humanities magazine
- Engages 1,500 listeners through the BrainBox podcast
In 1971, Oklahoma joined five other states in a program developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to launch the first state humanities councils. The NEH was established as a federal grant-making agency by the U.S. Congress in 1965 to support research, education, and public projects in the humanities. In creating state councils, NEH delegated some of its grant-making activities to the citizens where humanities programs take place.
Originally called the Oklahoma Humanities Task Force, the organization focused on public policy issues through grant-making and projects based on the theme “Citizen Values in Community Decisions.” Symposia, seminars, and radio/television broadcasts brought scholars, public figures, and citizens together to discuss broad humanities themes.
During these years, the organization expanded its reach by soliciting support from private sources to match federal funds and by partnering with other organizations to extend resources to rural communities.
Today, Oklahoma Humanities provides funding and resources that support lifelong learning and a vibrant cultural life for all Oklahomans in all 77 counties.
Our Board of Trustees
Suzette V. Chang, Chair, Executive Committee Member
Sarah Milligan, Vice Chair | Secretary, Executive Committee Member
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater
Cynthia Friedemann, Treasurer, Executive Committee Member
Metro Technology Centers, Oklahoma City
Dr. Benjamin Alpers, Board Development Committee Chair, Executive Committee Member
University of Oklahoma, Norman
Dr. Elizabeth Bass, Program Committee Chair, Executive Committee Member
Jennie Buchanan, Governor Appointed Member
Dr. Kalenda Eaton
University of Oklahoma, Norman
Don G. Holladay
Dr. Shawn Holliday
Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva
Dr. Annie Holt
The University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond
Dr. Thomas A. Kirk
Quraysh Ali Lansana
Northeastern State University, Tahlequah
Erin Peters, Governor Appointed Member
Uzma Saleemi, Governor Appointed Member
Lynne Schonacher, Governor Appointed Member
Dr. Lynne Simpson
Langston University, Langston
Dr. Amanda Smith
Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford
NBC Bank, Oklahoma City
Dr. Stacy Takacs
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater
Dr. Moira Watson
Hall-Estill, Oklahoma City
Laura Watts, Governor Appointed Member
Alba N. Weaver, Fundraising Committee Chair, Executive Committee Member
OG&E, Oklahoma City
Full Board of Trustees Meetings || 1:00-3:00 PM
February 24, 2023
April 28, 2023
September 29, 2023
Board of Trustees Meetings/Nominations
OH is governed by a 24-member Board of Trustees, comprised of private citizens, academic scholars, and Governor’s appointees. Nominations to the Board of Trustees are accepted on a year-round basis and must be submitted via our online application.
Nominations received by May 31 of each year will be considered for open Board positions as of the following November 1 or for unexpected vacancies. Trustees are appointed for a 3-year term with re-nomination possible for a second 3-year term.
To nominate someone other than yourself, please email Executive Director Caroline Lowery with the person's name and email address. We will contact them directly to complete the nomination process.
Recognition and Awards
2023 Great Plains Journalism Awards
Finalist | Magazine Feature Writing: "The Shorthand of Thomas Jefferson" By Kimberly Roblin
Finalist | Publication of the Year: Oklahoma Humanities staff and graphic designer Anne Richardson
2022 Society of Professional Journalists Awards, Oklahoma Pro Chapter
First Place | General Writing: "Breaking Down Barriers" By David Levy
Second Place | Best PR Publication Cover: Spring/Summer HOPE
2022 Great Plains Journalism Awards
Winner | Best Feature Photo: Mike Klemme
Finalist | Column Writing: "The Editor's Desk" By Carla Walker
Finalist | Magazine Feature Writing: "Reflections on a Beleaguered Symbol" By Tonnia Anderson
Finalist | Reader Service Page Design: "Crossroads: Change in Rural America" Anne Richardson
Finalist | Magazine of the Year: Oklahoma Humanities staff
2021 Great Plains Journalism Awards
Finalist | News Writing: “Ask a Journalist” By Andy Rieger, Cindy Elliott Allen, David Craig, Susan Ellerbach, Rich Lenz, Dick Pryor
Finalist | Column Writing: “The Editor’s Desk” By Carla Walker
Finalist | Food Feature Writing: “How Food Connects Us to Home” By Ayelet Tsabari
Finalist | Readers Service Writing: “Popcorn, Politics, and the Press” By Kimberly Roblin
Finalist | Arts & Culture Writing: “Hardship, Hope, and Home: Dorothea Lange, Documenting Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl Refugees” By Kimberly Roblin
Finalist | Magazine Page Design, Profile: “Hardship, Hope, and Home: Dorothea Lange, Documenting Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl Refugees” Anne Richardson & Carla Walker
Finalist | Magazine Page Design, Profile: “Mapping Woody Guthrie” Anne Richardson, Sara Bowersock, Carla Walker
Finalist | Magazine Page Design, Reader Service: “Popcorn, Politics, and the Press,” Anne Richardson & Carla Walker
Finalist | Magazine Design Portfolio: Anne Richardson
2021 Society of Professional Journalists Awards, Oklahoma Pro Chapter
First Place | General Writing: “Hardship, Hope, and Home: Dorothea Lange, Documenting Oklahoma's Dust Bowl Refugees” By Kimberly Roblin
Third Place | General Writing: "Learning from the Past, Acting for the Future" By Ben Alpers
First Place | Best PR Publication Cover: Spring/Summer "Home"
Second Place | Best PR Publication Cover: Fall/Winter "Citizen 2020"
First Place | Best PR Publication: Spring/Summer "Home"
Secod Place | Best PR Publication: Fall/Winter "Citizen 2020"
2020 Great Plains Journalism Awards
Finalist | Magazine Page Design
2020 Society of Professional Journalists Awards, Oklahoma Pro Chapter
First Place | General Writing: “Losing Time—And Finding It” By Kimberly Roblin
Third Place | General Writing: “Poetic Justice” By Julie Ann Ward
Second Place | Best PR Publication Cover: Spring/Summer “Justice”
Third Place | Best PR Publication Cover: Fall/Winter “Time”
Second Place | Best PR Publication: Fall/Winter “Time”
Third Place | Best PR Publication: Spring/Summer “Justice”
2019 Society of Professional Journalists Awards, Oklahoma Pro Chapter
First Place | General Writing: “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” Interview with Carl Bernstein by Dick Pryor
Second Place | General Writing: “Fake News: How Did We Get Here?” By Shad Satterthwaite
Third Place | General Writing: “Tasting the World: In Praise of Culinary Curiosity” By Pamela Chew
First Place | Best PR Publication Cover: Fall/Winter 2018 “Curiosity”
Third Place | Best PR Publication Cover: Spring/Summer 2018 “Truth”
Second Place | Best PR Publication: Spring/Summer 2018 “Truth”
Third Place | Best PR Publication: Fall/Winter 2018 “Curiosity”View All Awards
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