Bruce Cole to Depart the National Endowment for the Humanities

WASHINGTON, (November 12, 2008)

NEH Chairman to Lead the American Revolution Center at Valley Forge

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that Chairman Bruce Cole will leave the Endowment to join the American Revolution Center as its President and CEO, effective in January 2009.

Appointed NEH Chairman by President George W. Bush, Cole was confirmed by the Senate in 2001 and reconfirmed in 2005 for a second term. Cole is the longest serving Chairman in the history of the Endowment. During his tenure, NEH launched innovative humanities programs, including We the People and Picturing America. Under his leadership, NEH led the application of digital technology to the humanities through its Office of Digital Humanities. The office established innovative new grant programs and formed ground-breaking partnerships with the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. Cole has also worked to broaden the international reach of NEH.

“For the past seven years, I had the honor of working with the talented staff at NEH, our National Council on the Humanities, and the state humanities councils to preserve and promote the best of the humanities,” said Cole. “Programs such as We the People and Picturing America bring humanities education to the forefront and increase understanding of our unique history among our citizens. I depart as a grateful American, with profound appreciation for NEH’s commitment to the critical importance of the humanities. I look forward to continuing to promote the understanding of American history in my new endeavor.”

As NEH Chairman, Cole’s highest priority has been to reinvigorate our citizens’ knowledge of American history. At NEH, he approved more than 3,000 grants and $292.7 million in funding for projects about U.S. history and culture, and was responsible for $759 million in overall grant funding during his tenure. The Endowment’s budget also increased during this period.

In 2002, Cole established We the People, a program to improve the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. Notable We the People projects include Landmarks of American History and Culture workshops for school and community college teachers offered at important American historic sites, as well as the We the People Bookshelf, which annually distributes classic books that explore enduring American themes to thousands of libraries.

One of Cole’s major initiatives at NEH has been Picturing America. Designed to help students understand America’s national story through art, Picturing America brings great American art into classrooms and libraries nationwide, enabling people of all ages to gain a deeper appreciation of our country’s history and character. Through Picturing America, schools and public libraries receive forty large, high-quality reproductions of American art, along with resources to help educators use the images to teach American history, literature, civics, and other subjects.

During the first Picturing America application period in 2008, nearly one-fifth of all U.S. schools and public libraries applied for the program. This fall, working with the American Library Association, NEH made more than 36,000 Picturing America awards to schools, public libraries and Head Start Centers nationwide, and expects to award thousands more by the end of the year. As part of the Picturing America initiative, NEH formed partnerships with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, and the National Park Service.

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