Nominated by President Obama, two Stanford scholars join the National Endowment for the Humanities advisory board

Ramón Saldívar and Bruce R. Sievers are now among the prominent humanities scholars and advocates who help guide the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Photo of Saldivar: L.A. Cicero, Photo of Sievers: Cynthia Perry Ramon Saldivar and Bruce Sievers portraits

Ramon Saldivar and Bruce Sievers will serve six-year terms on the National Endowment for the Humanities.

As members of the National Council on the Humanities, Ramón Saldívar, Stanford professor of English and of comparative literature, and Bruce R. Sievers, a visiting scholar and lecturer at the Haas Center for Public Service and the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, join the distinguished group of private citizens who advise the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

President Barack Obama nominated Saldívar, Sievers and Camila A. Alire, dean emerita at both the University of New Mexico and Colorado State University, to the posts.

The appointees, who are replacing three current members of the 26-member advisory body, will serve six-year terms on the council. They will meet with the NEH chairman three times a year to review grant applications.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

NEH Chairman Jim Leach said that the new members will "bring with them valuable experience and specialized knowledge of the fields of library science, literature and philanthropy."

Saldívar, who is currently the director of the Bing Overseas Studies Program at Stanford, received a 2011 National Humanities Medal in honor of his cultural explorations of the U.S-Mexico border.

With many people today being concerned about the "fate of the humanities as an academic discipline and as the source of the imaginative energy of our society," Saldívar said his appointment is an opportunity to "affect that fate on more than an individual or local level."

Sievers, whose research centers on the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, was the founding director of both the California and Montana state humanities councils.

"As someone who has spent a good portion of my career involved with state humanities programs," Sievers said, "the NEH is the premiere, and in fact only, institution in the United States that is dedicated to funding research, teaching and public programs in the humanities."

"In all of these roles," Sievers said, the NEH "provides essential support for the health of civil society in this nation."

For more news about the humanities at Stanford, visit the Human Experience.

Corrie Goldman, director of humanities communication: (650) 724-8156, [email protected]