The Wyoming Humanities council board consists of members with diverse backgrounds and a passion for humanities.
The Wyoming Humanities Board of Directors has fiduciary responsibility for our nonprofit, including governance and financial oversight of the organization. Directors take an active role insetting policy, advocating for our funding at the federal and state level, raising private funding, and advising on program directions. They are a group of professionally, geographically, and culturally diverse Wyomingites who come together through their passion for improving the quality of life in our state.
Wyoming Humanities can have up to 20 directors, five of which are appointed by the governor. Directors serve three-year terms, renewable one time, and attend three or four meetings annually held both online and at various locations around the state. They attend events in their communities and serve as ambassadors for the organization in many ways. They are committed to advancing the mission of Wyoming Humanities through their gifts of time, wisdom, and funding.
Fred was born and raised in Cheyenne, WY. He received his bachelor’s degree in art and earned his master’s in public administration from the University of Wyoming. As an art student, he displayed work in the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Fred frequently interned with the Wyoming Arts Council as he pursued his vision of becoming an arts administrator. Fred is currently assistant director of IMPACT 307, the University of Wyoming’s innovation driven business incubator network, where he is working to develop economic diversity in Wyoming. Recognizing that there is a symbiotic link between sustainable arts and technology sectors, in the fall of 2014 Fred launched the Wyoming Arts Incubation program. Here he works with Wyoming artists to help them develop sustainable incomes from their art. He also coordinates the Fisher Innovation Launchpad (FIL), and Southeast Wyoming Innovation Launchpad (SEWYIL), two startup capital competitions that have created more than 45 companies since their inception. He was elected to the board in 2019.
Sarah Jo is the Dean of Instruction as Sheridan College. She was raised in Eastern Montana where she was exposed to humanities and arts in the small, rural communities in which she grew up. As a child, she traveled across Montana with her father while he served on the Montana Committee for the Humanities—Montana’s state humanities council. Sarah Jo’s family moved to Central Wyoming to ranch in the Big Horn Basin in the 1990's. She studied English Literature at Montana State University in Bozeman and earned an MA in Liberal Arts at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. After several years of teaching in Maryland, she and her husband brought their two boys to Sheridan, where she works at Sheridan Community College. In her work, she writes about the western experience and the big spaces that have compelled her since she was a child. She also works to teach Wyoming students about the larger world, about the stories that they may have missed growing up in a small, isolated part of the globe. She serves on the Sheridan Community Land Trust board of directors, was an interim director for Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Bighorns and completed Leadership Wyoming in 2018. She was elected to the board in 2017.
Ex Officio board member as the Executive Director of the Wyoming Community College Commission, a position she assumed in 2018. Dr. Caldwell was most recently the president of Reedley College in Fresno County, California. Previously she was a faculty member and leader at Western Wyoming Community College and was an early graduate of Leadership Wyoming.
Wendy Martinez was born in Tlaxcala, Mexico and was raised in Jackson, Wyoming. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Wyoming. After her college years she returned to Jackson with an interest in giving back and serving her community. Wendy now works for Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Teton Area as the Homeowner Services Manager where affordable housing programs and policies is at the center of her work. Additionally, she currently serves on the Teton Library Foundation Board, the Immigrant Hope Board, the Town of Jackson Planning Commission and is a member of Jackson Hole Diversity Equity and Inclusion Collective. Through her professional and volunteer work, Wendy hopes to engage with the Wyoming community through mindful conversation and education that will foster cultural awareness and empathy.
Michael was the President of Business Aviators, Inc. a charter and management company, for airplanes. He was the President and founder of Von’s Welding, Inc. which served the mining industry. He was the principal in Guanxi, LLC, which performed the reclamation of the Union 76 mine in Carbon and Sweetwater Counties. His civic duties included the President of the Chamber, Chairman of the Airport Board, on the Campbell County Economic Board, Rotary and was a State Senator for 16 years.
He is now the president of Innovative Mining and Equipment, LLC a holding company. He is retired as of this year.
Dr. Maggi Maier Murdock is a native of Wyoming. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Creighton University and her Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science from Tufts University. Maggi began her academic career at the University of Wyoming in 1975 and was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science and adjunct faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice. She served as Dean of the University of Wyoming branch campus (UW-Casper), Dean of the UW Outreach School, UW Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and UW Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs. She retired from the University of Wyoming in August 2017 as Professor Emerita. Maggi has been active in local and state organizations, as well as political science and distance education professional organizations. She served on the Higher Learning Commission Board of Trustees for 8 years. Currently, Maggi is a partner in the teaching and learning consulting business. Maggi served on the Wyoming Humanities Council from 1988 – 1993, serving as president from 1991-1992. Maggi was again elected to the Wyoming Humanities Board in 2019.
Liisa is a 4th generation Wyoming native and owns and operates 3 hotels in Rock Springs.
She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a business degree and then earned a Juris Doctorate from Duke Law School. Liisa also attended the Oxford Summer Law Program where students learn the history of English common law. After law school, Liisa worked as a corporate mergers and acquisitions attorney for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher from 1998 to 1997 in Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C. and Orange County. Liisa returned to her home state in 1997 to help with her family businesses. She has served on numerous boards, including the Wyoming State Tourism Board, the Sweetwater County Tourism Board and was the past president and board member of the United Way. Liisa served in the Wyoming Legislature as a State Senator for four years. Liisa also serves with the Presidential Scholars Alumni Group. The Governor appointed Liisa to the at-large position on the Water Commission and also to the Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife Task Force. She has been awarded the Rock Springs Business Woman of the Year and the PEACE award for her work in the legislature to protect victims of domestic violence. Liisa’s husband Dan is a retired petroleum engineer turned bison rancher. She has two children, Kirsi and Steven; Kirsi is in medical school at the University of Utah and Steven is in law school at the University of Wyoming. She was elected to the Humanities Board in 2021.
"Dr. Scott Henkel is the director of the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research, the Wyoming Excellence Chair in the Humanities, and associate professor in the departments of English and African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of Wyoming. He is the author of Direct Democracy: Collective Power, the Swarm, and the Literatures of the Americas, which won a C. L. R. James Award for Best Published Book for Academic or General Audiences from the Working-Class Studies Association in 2018. Dr. Henkel shared his story on the Wyoming Humanities "What's Your Why?" podcast, which is available atHenkel Podcast
Elizabeth is the assistant director of the Teton Public Library in Jackson. As a second-grader, Isabel could not read, but a great teacher saw she was struggling and discreetly pulled her aside and worked with her one-on-one after school until Isabel become not only literate, but a passionate reader. The experience of being a struggling student drove Isabel to focus on students and life-long earning. Originally from Pinole, California, in the east Bay Area, Zumel worked for non-profit organizations in San Francisco on matters ranging from gang violence prevention and youth leadership development to affordable housing and community development. She has served as the second-in-command at one of our state’s largest libraries for well over a decade. Isabel volunteers extensively to support that Latino/a population of Teton County and heads up Systems of Education, a network of organizations that collaborate on how to improve learning in the region. Zumel and her husband, Joey Maligalig, are Filipino; the name of their 8-year-old daughter, Malaya, means “free” in the Philippines’native language Tagalog. She was elected to the board in 2017.
Milward served as executive director of a nonprofit performing and visual arts center in Central Minnesota before moving back to Wyoming in 2004 to become Executive Director of the Wyoming Arts Council. He served as director of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources (2006-2016) and the Wyoming state director for The Nature Conservancy (2016-2019) before accepting his current position as executive director of the National Association for Interpretation, a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing the field of heritage interpretation currently serving 6,000+ members in the United States, Canada, and more than thirty other countries. Milward has served on a number of local, statewide and regional boards including the Cheyenne Historic Preservation Board, Wyoming Historic Mine Trails and Byways Commission, Wyoming Recreation Action Team, and Western States Arts Federation. He holds a BA in Music Performance from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Humanities from the University of Colorado at Denver. His wife, Amy, is a long-time music educator and public education advocate. In addition to enjoying time with his three children and two grandchildren, Milward enjoys gardening, cooking, reading social criticism and philosophy, biking, travel, music, and live theater.
Jeremy is the Hal and Naoma Tate Endowed Chair of Western History, the Goppert Curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum, and the Managing Editor of the Papers of William F. Cody. Born and raised in Powell, Wyoming, Johnston graduated from Powell High School. Johnston attended the University of Wyoming, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1993 and his Master of Arts in 1995. He then taught at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, for over fifteen years. Johnston earned his Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2017. His doctoral dissertation examined the personal and professional relationship between Theodore Roosevelt and William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. He released his first book, a photo history of Powell, Wyoming, in 2009, followed by a “then and now” photo history in 2012. Johnston is the recipient of the 2006 Coke Wood Award, sponsored by Westerners International, for his article “Progressivism Comes to Yellowstone: Theodore Roosevelt and Professional Land Management Agencies in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.” He is a past president of the Wyoming State Historical Society and currently serves on the Public History Committee of the Western History Association. Johnston appeared on various Wyoming PBS documentaries, including Roy Barnes: Rocky Mountain Cowboy and Wyoming Voices, Tony Robinson’s Wild West for the Discovery UK Channel, and Mysteries at the Museum for the Travel Channel. Collaborating with Dr. Charles Preston of the Center’s Draper Natural History Museum, he produced an annotated version of Ernest Thompson-Seton’s Wahb: The Biography of a Grizzly, published by the University of Oklahoma Press. Johnston and Lynn Houze co-edited the memoir of Buffalo Bill’s fellow town founder of Cody, Wyoming, George W. T. Beck, titled Beckoning Frontiers: The Memoir of a Wyoming Entrepreneur.
Willie is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe of the Wind River Reservation. He was born in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, the son of an Eastern Shoshone Indian rancher and of a white mother. He has both a college education and the traditional teachings from both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal elders. He graduated from high school in Lander and served in the US Navy and was honorably discharged in 1959 as an E5 air traffic controller. He has worked as a contract religious coordinator for Wyoming Department of Corrections for the past 20 years and conducts presentations on American Indian culture all over the country and has been on the Wyoming Arts Council roster for a number of years. In 1980 Willie started a career, which he continues today, as a presenter and rodeo announcer to share some of the Native American heritage and spirituality he has experienced. He makes his home on a small ranch near Riverton, Wyoming where he has raised Texas Longhorn cattle. He walks both worlds as an American Indian and as an American Cowboy. Willie is one of the few that is knowledgeable in the traditional art of American Indian sign language. He remains as one of the few American Indian Cowboys of our time living in the west with American Indian traditional knowledge passed onto him. It is his goal to dispel existing stereotypes that encourage people to view American Indians as figures in the historical past, or even worse, as the characters that Hollywood has created.By exposing audiences to diverse dances, regalia and songs, he hopes to instill the idea that American Indians are not all the same. He was elected to the board in 2019.
Warren Murphy has resided in Wyoming for 42 years. He arrived in Wyoming from Buffalo, NY where he spent his early years founding and running a home for homeless and runaway youth called Compass House. An ordained Episcopal clergy, he has served churches in Dixon, Lander, Atlantic City, Ft. Washakie and Cody. He served as Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Cody for 14 years from 1989-2004. He served on the board of the Wyoming Humanities Council from 1993-1999. This included three years as president from 1995-1998. In 2004 Warren became Director of the Wyoming Association of Churches where he served until 2009. This position involved working with the state's churches in behalf of social and environmental justice. He served on the board of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition from 2003-2010 and was a member of the Leadership Wyoming class of 2008. His book On Sacred Ground: A Religious and Spiritual History of Wyoming won the best non-fiction history award from the Wyoming Historical Society in 2011. He is also the author of Unique and Different: A Memoir of a Wyoming Journey, his newest publication. Warren is the first past board member asked to serve on the WHC board after a 2016 bylaws change to recognize the contributions of past leaders and their ability to contribute institutional and statewide expertise. He was elected to the board in 2017.