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English professor to chair Arizona Humanities Council board

March 04, 2010

Neal Lester was elected last month chair of the Arizona Humanities Council board of directors. Lester, a professor and chair of the English Department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University, had served as vice chair for the past two years and has been a board member for the past five years.

Before his election to the board, Lester served as a member of the council’s speakers bureau, as a grants review humanities scholar and as a community book discussant. In 2001, Lester received the Distinguished Public Scholar Award from the council for his extensive community outreach throughout the state of Arizona.

Before moving to Arizona and affiliating with the Humanities Council in 1997, Lester served on the speakers bureau of the Alabama Humanities Council.

Founded in 1973, the Arizona Humanities Council is not a state agency, but rather a nonprofit organization and the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The council supports public programming in the humanities that promotes understanding of human thoughts, actions, creations, and values. In addition, the council works with museums, libraries, and other cultural and educational organizations to bring humanities programs to residents throughout Arizona.

Council-supported activities create opportunities for Arizonans to share diverse stories through critical thinking and public discussion toward better understanding and appreciating our common humanity.

Lester serves a two-year term with vice chair Thomas H. Wilson, Mesa; treasurer Bill McDorman, Cornville; secretary Linda Arzoumanian, Tucson; and past chair Kim Fernandez, Tucson. More information is online at