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Specht named N.C. Humanities Council Board chairperson

GREENSBORO—Dr. Neva J. Specht of Deep Gap has been elected chair of the board of the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She assumes leadership from Cynthia (Cindy) Brodhead of Durham, who served as chair from October 2012 to October 2014 and will continue as a council trustee for another year.

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Specht is senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of history at Appalachian State University.

“The humanities offer a means for seeing what we have in common and for providing a space to discuss and question larger issues where we might disagree,” Specht said. “I see the humanities council as a willing partner in providing opportunities for those types of discussions through its partnerships with other organizations and through its statewide public humanities programs. I look forward to working with the North Carolina Humanities Council’s trustees and staff to promote the humanities in North Carolina as the new board chair.”

Specht joined the N.C. Humanities Board of Trustees in 2009 and has been active on the council’s programming and evaluation committee, serving as co-chair for the last two years.

Specht first learned about the council in 1996, when she received a grant from the council to fund Appalachian’s first Women’s History Month film series. Specht also was the program director for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ landmarks in American History and Culture grants that focused on the Blue Ridge Parkway for high school teachers.

A native of Iowa, Specht received her B.A. from Grinnell College with a double major in history and American studies. She holds a M.A. in American history, with museum studies certification, as well as a Ph.D. in history from the University of Delaware.

As a public historian, she and her students have worked with a number of community partners.

Specht has served on the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum’s Board of Directors, Blue Ridge Parkway 75, BeanStalk Community Theatre Board, and currently sits on the Town of Boone’s Cultural Resource Advisory Board and oversees the university’s Humanities Council.

Specht has received the Transforming North Carolina Faculty Research Award; Appalachian State University/Board of Governor’s Teaching Award; Jimmy Smith Service Award; and the Communal Studies Association Starting Scholar Award. In 2014, she was nominated for the Rennie Brantz Freshman Teaching Award.

About the N.C. Humanities Council

The North Carolina Humanities Council is a statewide, nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The council is as an advocate for lifelong learning and thoughtful dialogue about all facets of human life. It facilitates the exploration and celebration of the many voices and stories of North Carolina’s cultures and heritage. In addition to grants and publications, the council sponsors the Road Scholars speakers bureau; Literature and Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care a literature discussion series for health care professionals; the Let’s Talk About It library discussion series; and the traveling exhibition Museum on Main Street, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution and rural communities statewide. To learn more about the North Carolina Humanities Council, visit