UF President Kent Fuchs welcomed a crowd of more than 150 people, including Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe, to Smathers Library on Friday. The Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere at UF held a celebration in honor of the 10-year anniversary of its 2009 launch. The two-hour event hosted speakers to discuss the importance of humanities and their work in the field. The center funds grants, fellowships and sponsorships to promote humanities programs, said Sophia Acord, the center’s associate director.
Fuchs welcomed Jon Parrish Peede, the National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman, who is the first sitting chairman to visit UF in more than 20 years, said Barbara Mennel, the center’s director. The last sitting chairman to visited in 1997.
The National Endowment for the Humanities is a federal grant-making agency that awards $155 million each year, Peede said. The endowment funds the Florida Humanities Council, which seeks to support and preserve the humanities.
Fuchs expressed the importance of humanities in tackling the challenges society currently faces.