Message from the President & Director

A Look Back at 2020–21

Discussing the unusual challenges of operating in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, NHC President and Director Robert D. Newman notes “…the determination of our staff and Fellows to care for each other and to make the most of the fellowship year was inspiring.” Watch this video for an overview of the Center and its work throughout 2020–21.

Forging a (Safe) Community

A hallmark of the NHC fellowship experience is the intellectual community that emerges when gifted scholars are given the chance to work alongside one another, share meals, and form seminars and writing groups based on their shared interests. Fellows form lasting personal and professional connections, gain fresh perspectives, and find themselves energized by new ideas.

Approximately half of this year’s Fellows spent the year working remotely

Nurturing that community during the COVID-19 pandemic was a major objective for the year, a goal made even more challenging by the fact that approximately half of this year’s Fellows spent the year working remotely, interacting with their colleagues exclusively through digital means.

Despite these challenges, Fellows’ enthusiasm and determination to make the most of their fellowship coupled with the ingenuity and commitment of NHC staff contributed significantly to a sense of bonhomie and an environment of scholarly productivity. Like classes before, their shared passion and collective intellectual generosity produced an enduring sense of community—a testament to their resilience, dedication, and their support for one another.

Giving Teachers Vital Support

The events of the past year have presented significant challenges for teachers—disruptions in school schedules; students with families strained psychologically, financially, and logistically, as well as their own anxieties about the immediate and lasting impacts of the pandemic. All of this has been in addition to the difficult task of keeping students engaged in a digital classroom setting.

The Center’s new offerings inspire teachers to think more expansively

In the midst of this, the Center’s education programs were more vitally needed than ever. Over 5,000 educators subscribed to the Center’s new Humanities in Class Digital Library—an Open Education Resource Commons site—where teachers can access high quality teaching materials from the Center and over 40 content partners designed to satisfy curricular standards and students’ interests. The Center’s new offerings such as its “Medieval Africa and Africans course,” created in partnership with the Medieval Academy of America, address gaps in subject knowledge and inspire teachers to think more expansively about ways to help their students make connections and see the world through a historically-accurate lens.

In addition to primary source materials, lesson plans, media-based tutorials, and scholarly essays, the Center offers popular webinars and online courses that allow teachers at all levels to directly interact with experts and expand their subject knowledge on a wide variety of topics.

Highlighting the Value of the Humanities

Through its public programs and digital initiatives, the Center makes scholarly insights available to audiences within and beyond the academic world. With the ongoing pandemic, nearly all of these activities were digitally-based in 2020–21, including a continuation of our virtual book talks, which were presented in three distinct series on the topics of racial injustice, American democracy, and conflict and resolution. In addition, the Center hosted two “Scholar-to-Scholar” discussions featuring 2020–21 Fellows discussing the price of injustice and the relationship between teachers and students.

The NHC seeks to facilitate conversations about important contemporary issues

The biggest event of the year, however, was the Center’s virtual “In Our Image” conference, exploring the critical intersection between artificial intelligence and the humanities. This multidisciplinary event examined issues involving artificial intelligence in a series of presentations, conversations, webinars, film screenings, and an art exhibition. With contributions from leading humanists, software developers, artists, and writers, the conference’s robust conversations led to a series of podcast episodes created by graduate student attendees and a teaching resource for teachers.

Finally, in 2020 the Center launched an initiative in partnership with medical schools in different regions of the U.S., training students to gather personal accounts of the COVID-19 crisis from frontline healthcare workers. By curating, archiving, and sharing these narratives, the NHC seeks to facilitate conversations about important contemporary issues in healthcare. Selections from this growing oral history collection will be made available for public consumption in 2022 as part of an online exhibit “Charting Crisis: Collective Storytelling in an Age of COVID-19.”

By the Numbers


from fifteen U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, China, and Uganda

Scholarly Works

(including chapters, articles, and essays) produced in full or in part by 2020–21 Fellows

subscribers and registrants for NHC educational resources


Downloads and Streams

of NHC digital resources for public audiences


College and University Sponsors

including Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard University, Princeton University, and Yale University


Live, Interactive Webinars

17,303 registrations from 49 states and 47,410 professional development hours earned


Social Media Impressions

across Center social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn



The Fellows

Thirty-two scholars from institutions across the United States as well as Canada, China, and Uganda spent the year as Fellows of the National Humanities Center in 2020–21 working on projects from a wide range of humanities disciplines.

Marcus Anthony Allen
North Carolina A&T State University
Melissa Bailes 
Tulane University
Emily Baragwanath 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Brandi C. Brimmer
Spelman College
Ryan E. Emanuel 
North Carolina State University
Fernando Esquivel-Suárez
Spelman College
Bryna Goodman
University of Oregon
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Independent Scholar
Rivi Handler-Spitz 
Macalester College
Janny HC Leung
The University of Hong Kong
Jordynn Jack
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Michael Johnston
Purdue University
Tong King Lee
The University of Hong Kong
Adriane Lentz-Smith
Duke University
Keith D. Miller
Arizona State University
Gregg Mitman
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Christoper Moore
The Pennsylvania State University
Georgia Mouroutsou
King’s University College at Western University Canada
Martin Munro
Florida State University
Joan Neuberger
University of Texas at Austin
James Ocita
Makerere University, Uganda
Eli Park Sorensen 
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Helmut Puff 
University of Michigan
Mrinalini Rajagopalan
University of Pittsburgh
Gabriel N. Rosenberg 
Duke University
Crystal R. Sanders
The Pennsylvania State University
Mitra Sharafi
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Lester Tomé
Smith College
Aarthi Vadde 
Duke University
Rachel Watson
Howard University
Saundra Weddle 
Drury University
Molly Worthen
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Resident Associates

In addition to Fellows, the Center was pleased to welcome these scholars who were also in residence during the 2020–21 academic year.

Kathlene Baldanza

The Pennsylvania State University

Neşe Özgen

Duke University

Robert S. Schine

Middlebury College

Robert Weddle

Drury University

Books by Fellows

Recently published books that have been added to the Robert F. and Margaret S. Goheen Collection of work by NHC Fellows

The exceptional work NHC Fellows produce consistently garners praise and attention from other scholars as well as prizes and other forms of professional recognition. A list of books that have recently received prizes can be found here.

Mother Tongues: Poems
Tsitsi Ella Jaji
The Yorùbá: A New History
Akinwumi Ogundiran
Further Reading
Matthew Rubery


As of June 30, 2021

Statement of Financial Position

wdt_ID Assets 2021
1 Cash and cash equivalents 2,146,517
2 Grants receivable 916,618
3 Promises to give 443,876
4 Prepaid expenses and other receivables 54,923
5 Property and equipment, net of depreciation 1,807,391
7 Investments 90,957,322
8 Total Assets 96,326,647
10 Accounts payable and accrued expenses 235,946
11 Deferred revenue 113,910
13 Net assets, without donor restrictions 1,815,587
14 Net assets, with donor restrictions 94,161,204
15 Total Net Assets 95,976,791
16 Total Liabilities and Net Assets 96,326,647

Statement of Support and Revenue

wdt_ID Assets 2021
1 Contributions, gifts, and grants 2,026,497
2 Net investment return 21,359,095
3 Program income 250,468
4 Miscellaneous income 417,644
5 Total Support and Revenue 24,053,704
wdt_ID Expenses 2021
1 Program Services
2 Scholarly Programs 2,933,264
3 Education Programs 931,490
4 Public Outreach 770,468
5 Total Program Services 4,635,222
6 Supporting Services
7 Management and general 449,865
8 Fundraising 330,202
9 Total Supporting Services 780,067
10 Total Expenses 5,415,289
11 Surplus (Deficit) 18,638,415



The National Humanities Center is an independent, privately incorporated institute supported by grants and contributions from public and private sources. The Center also has a permanent endowment, valued at $91.7 million on June 30, 2021, that provided expendable income covering approximately 67 percent of its annual operating costs.

Thank You

The National Humanities Center gratefully acknowledges the generosity of all the individuals, corporations, foundations, and institutions that provided support for the Center and its programs in 2020–21. In addition to their financial support, the Center is also grateful to Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for their library and technical assistance.

  • Individual Gifts
  • Institutional and Corporate Sponsors
  • Grants and Foundations
View our full list of supporters



Staff & Trustees

Staff of the Center (as of June 30, 2021)

Brooke Andrade

Director of the Library

Matthew Booker

Vice President for Scholarly Programs

Heidi N. Camp

Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Joel Elliott

Information Technology Coordinator

Margo Francis

Accounting Manager

Olympia Friday

Digital Engagement and Marketing Coordinator

James Getkin

Dining Room Manager

Sarah Harris

Associate Librarian

Martha Johnson

Executive Assistant for Institutional Advancement

Jacqueline Kellish

Curator, Humanities Moments Project

Jason King

Online Resources Manager

Nollie McDonald

Staff Accountant

Joe Milillo

Assistant Librarian

Lynn Miller

Scholarly Programs Manager

Andy Mink

Vice President for Education Programs

Karen Mudd

Administrative Support

Robert D. Newman

President and Director

Tom Reed

Dining Room Staff

Don Solomon

Director of Communications

Jodie St. Laurent

Executive Assistant to the President and Director

Elizabeth G. Taylor

Education Programs Coordinator

Stephanie Tucker

Vice President for Operations/Chief Financial Officer

Michael Williams

Education Projects Manager


The Center is governed by a distinguished board of trustees from academic, professional, and public life.

David Blackbourn

Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Chair of History, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

David Bromwich

Sterling Professor of English, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Ric Burns

Filmmaker, Steeplechase Films, Inc., New York, NY

Nancy Cable

University of North Carolina at Asheville, Asheville, NC

Dennis M. Campbell

Former Professor of Theology and Dean of Duke Divinity School, Duke University; J. Carter Walker Chair and Headmaster Emeritus, Woodberry Forest School, Durham, NC

Willo Carey

Former Broadcast Executive, WHYY, St. Davids, PA

William D. Cohan

Author and Journalist, Special Correspondent, Vanity Fair, New York, NY

Joy Connolly

President, American Council of Learned Societies, New York, NY

J. Porter Durham Jr.

Managing Partner and General Counsel, Global Endowment Management, LP, Charlotte, NC

Annette Gordon-Reed

Professor, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

Pamela Hendrickson

COO and Vice Chairman, Strategic Initiatives, The Riverside Company, New York, NY

Rishi Jaitly

CEO, Times Bridge, Charlottesville, VA

William C. Jordan

Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Karen R. Lawrence

President, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA

Richard Levy

President, H.B.D., Inc., Greensboro, NC

Jane O. Newman*

Professor, Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA

Robert D. Newman

(NHC President), Director, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC

Vincent E. Price

President, Duke University, Durham, NC

Carol Quillen

President, Davidson College, Davidson, NC

Harriet Ritvo*

Arthur J. Conner Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Peter J. Rogers Jr.

Board Charman, B4Checkin Ltd., Washington, DC

Ann Wierda Rowland*

Associate Professor of English, University of Kansas, Kansas City, MO

Joshua Ruch

(Board Vice Chair), Managing Partner, Rho Capital Partners, New York, NY

Thomas J. Scherer

(Board Secretary), General Counsel, Aegon Asset Management, Chicago, IL

Lisa Schroeder

President, The Pittsburgh Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA

Joan Hinde Stewart*

President Emerita, Hamilton College, Durham, NC

Mark E. Thierfelder

Partner and Chair, Global Corporate and Securities Practice, Dechert, LLP, New York, NY

Ben Vinson III*

(Board Chair), Provost and Executive Vice President, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Bruce D. VonCannon

Managing Director/Responsible Officer, Vanheel Management Ltd, Hong Kong

Raymond J. Wiacek

(Board Treasurer), Partner, Jones Day, Washington, DC

A. Morris Williams Jr.

President, Williams & Company, West Conshohocken, PA

Michael Witmore

Director, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC

Susan Wolf*

Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Trustees Emeriti

The Center is governed by a distinguished board of trustees from academic, professional, and public life.

John F. Adams
James H. Averill
Peter A. Benoliel
Elizabeth Birkelund
Caroline Walker Bynum
W. Robert Connor
Andrew Delbanco*
Blair Effron
Frances Ferguson*
Frances Daly Fergusson
Catherine Gallagher*
Merril Halpern
Geoffrey Harpham
Robert Hollander
Michael Ann Holly
Philip S. Khoury
Shepard Krech III*
Thomas W. Laqueur*
William Leuchtenburg*
Martin E. Marty
Assad Meymandi, MD, PHD, DLFAPA
William M. (Bill) Moore Jr.
Patricia R. Morton
Francis Oakley*
John C. O’Hara Jr.
Carl Pforzheimer III
Lawrence R. Ricciardi
Cara W. Robertson*
Sally Dalton Robinson
Benno Schmidt Jr.
John Searle
Isaac Shapiro, Esq.
Patricia Meyer Spacks*
Robert Strassler
Jonathan G. Weiss
Herbert Winokur Jr.
Pauline R. Yu

* Fellow