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Two Nominated to National Council on the Humanities

WASHINGTON (September 18, 2014) —President Barack Obama yesterday announced his intent to nominate Francine Berman and Deborah Willis to serve as members of the National Council on the Humanities.

The advisory board of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Council on the Humanities is composed of twenty-six distinguished private citizens appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, with each member serving staggered six-year terms.

Dr. Francine Berman is the Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Chair of the Research Data Alliance (United States). She joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as Vice President for Research in 2009. Previously, Dr. Berman was Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center from 2001 to 2009. She was also Director of the National Science Foundation’s National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure. Previously, she held teaching positions at the University of California, San Diego. She began her career as Assistant Professor at Purdue University in 1979. Dr. Berman was Co-Chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access from 2007 to 2012. In 2009, she was awarded the Association of Computing Machinery/ Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society Ken Kennedy Award and in 2008, she was recognized by the Library of Congress as a “Digital Preservation Pioneer.” Dr. Berman received a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

Dr. Deborah Willis is a contemporary artist, photographic historian, author, and educator. She has been University Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts since 2001, and has been Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging since 2006. From 2000 to 2001, she was the Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Willis was the curator of photographs and prints at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library from 1980 to 1992 prior to becoming exhibitions curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for African American History and Culture. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2000 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. Dr. Willis received a B.F.A. from the Philadelphia College of Art, an M.F.A. from the Pratt Institute, an M.A. from City College of New York, and Ph.D. from George Mason University.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Paula Wasley at (202) 606-8424 or pwasley@neh.gov