The Idaho Humanities Council, the Boise-based, statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting greater public awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the humanities in Idaho, has hired a new Executive Director to replace retiring Director Rick Ardinger after 26 years.
David Pettyjohn, of Oklahoma City, will take the helm as IHC’s new Director in January of 2018. He has a background in historic preservation and public humanities programming.
Since 2012, Pettyjohn has served as Executive Director of Preservation Oklahoma, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting, supporting, and coordinating historic preservation activities in the state, often working in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).
Prior to joining Preservation Oklahoma, Pettyjohn served 11 years (2001-2012) as Program Officer and later as Assistant Director for the Oklahoma Humanities Council, one of 56 humanities councils in the states and territories. Like the Idaho Humanities Council, the Oklahoma Council works extensively with organizations large and small to develop humanities programs in libraries, museums, schools, and universities to promote greater understanding of literature, history, cultural anthropology, and other humanities disciplines.
He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from the University of Tulsa.
“David has excellent leadership experience in the nonprofit sector, and his passion for the public humanities is invigorating,” said Jenny Emery Davidson, Chair of the Idaho Humanities Council. “We are confident that, together with IHC’s three other talented staff members, he will carry forward the great work of the IHC around the state.”
Davidson added, “We are fortunate that, thanks to the tremendous leadership of Rick, and thanks to support of friends of the humanities throughout Idaho, the IHC is on very solid footing to make this transition smoothly.”
Ardinger will work for a time with Pettyjohn to ensure a smooth transition in 2018.
“The humanities have been at the center of my professional career,” Pettyjohn says. “I look forward to working with the board and staff and meeting with the many friends of the IHC throughout Idaho who are working to help meet the IHC’s mission of ‘connecting people with ideas.’”
The IHC is the state-based partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The IHC awards grants twice a year for promising humanities projects and programs, sponsors annual weeklong summer institutes in the humanities for K-12 teachers, hosts four annual, regional Distinguished Humanities Lectures in Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and Coeur d’Alene, coordinates tours of Smithsonian traveling exhibits, supports the City Clubs of Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, and Boise, underwrites programming on Idaho Public Television and on public radio, funds the statewide library reading and discussion program “Let’s Talk About It” in partnership with the Idaho Commission for Libraries, and more.