Late last night, Shelly Lowe was confirmed by the Senate as the 12th chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her appointment will be made official by the White House in the coming days, and she will begin her tenure shortly thereafter.
Lowe is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, Arizona. From 2015 to 2021 she served as a member of the National Council on the Humanities. Lowe’s career in higher education has included roles as Executive Director of the Harvard University Native American Program, Assistant Dean in the Yale College Dean’s Office, and Director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University. Prior to these positions, she spent six years as the Graduate Education Program Facilitator for the American Indian Studies Programs at the University of Arizona. Lowe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Master of Arts in American Indian Studies, and has completed doctoral coursework in Higher Education from the University of Arizona.
“Having grown up in a small rural Navajo community in Northeast Arizona, I have personally seen how the humanities can help sustain and strengthen individuals, communities, and institutions, yet I am alert to the fact that access to humanities resources remains unevenly distributed across our country,” Lowe said in a press release. “I look forward to working with NEH staff and the network of state and jurisdictional humanities councils to expand opportunities for all Americans to participate in and benefit from humanities-centered research, education, and public programs.”
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