The Wyoming Humanities Council (WHC) welcomes Shannon D. Smith as its new Executive Director.
Smith is an author and historian focusing on the northern Great Plains region and has written extensively about women of the West and Wyoming in particular. Her book, “Give Me Eighty Men”: Women and the Myth of the Fetterman Fight, about the history of Fort Phil Kearny near Buffalo, Wyoming, was the winner of the 2009 Non-Fiction Book Award from the Wyoming State Historical Society. She is also a scholar of American Indian History and taught in the Department of Humanities at Oglala Lakota College, a Tribal College on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, for over seven years.
For the last five years Smith has worked for EDUCAUSE, a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology, where she was recognized for her creativity in implementing innovations at conferences and educational programs. She has served on the board of directors for the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society, a non-profit organization that awards grants and develops programming to promote the legacy of noted western historian Mari Sandoz, for nearly a decade, and was elected to the Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees in 2009. Prior to her academic career, she was an executive and regional sales manager in the software industry in New York City, Boston, Denver, and Los Angeles.
Smith replaces Marcia Wolter Britton, who is retiring after 10 years of successful leadership. “We are indebted to Marcia for her exemplary contributions and for giving the Wyoming Humanities Council a solid and vibrant foundation for the future” said David Reetz, WHC President.
“I am passionate about the history, culture, and people of Wyoming and am deeply honored to have been selected,” said Smith, who grew up in the northwest corner of Nebraska and also has family in Wyoming. “I can’t think of a better position where I can combine my love of the humanities and all-things-Wyoming with my background in events, grants, technology, leadership, and raising money. My husband and I have taken well over 5,000 miles of Wyoming road-trips over the last five years and we look forward to moving to Laramie and joining the board and staff of the WHC in their mission to promote humanities throughout the state.”
“Shannon will be an outstanding executive director for the Wyoming Humanities Council. Out of more than 60 applications we received for the position, hers rose to the top due to her wide variety of experiences, her outgoing personality, and her commitment to the humanities” said Reetz. “These are challenging times for all not-for-profit institutions, but we are confident Shannon will lead our organization in new and exciting directions as we work to expand our reach and our ability to help cultural organizations throughout the state connect with their communities.”
Hear an interview with Smith on Wyoming Public Radio here:
Read a feature with Smith by the Laramie Boomerang here: