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.
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, California. Previously she was a faculty member and leader at Western Wyoming Community College and was an early graduate of Leadership Wyoming.
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 the Wyoming Technology Business Center, the University of Wyoming’s business incubator, where he is working to develop a technology sector in Southeast 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 at the WTBC. Here he works with Wyoming artists to help them develop sustainable incomes from their art. He also coordinates the Fisher Innovation Launchpad (FIL), a $125k entrepreneurship seed fund at the University of Wyoming that has yielded more than twenty active student-owned and conceived companies, making it the most effective economic development and business creation program in Wyoming. Fred is a co-founder and serves as Board President of TechTalk Laramie; a successful 501(c)3 non-profit focused on improving the conditions in Laramie for technology workers. 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.
Bernadine holds a doctorate in professional psychology from the University of Northern Colorado and has a Master’s of Divinity degree and is the Priest at Holy Communion Episcopal Church in Rock Springs. Bernadine served ten years in the Wyoming Legislature, most recently as senator for Senate District #12. She is also the executive director of the Sweetwater Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), an instructor for Western Wyoming Community College, and operates her own private practice counseling service. Bernadine has served on numerous community and professional organizations in the region as well as having received numerous awards such as the 2014 “Friend of Education” award from the Wyoming Education Association and 2014 “Friend of the Arts” for professional residency programs in Sweetwater County, Wyoming. She currently chairs the Development Committee for the Foundation of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming and is the Chairperson of the Diocesan Suicide Prevention and Intervention Task Force. She was elected to the board in 2014.
Ex Officio board member as the Director of the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research (WIHR). Dr. Henkel is an assistant professor in the departments of English and African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of Wyoming. He is a faculty member with and is the author of Direct Democracy: Collective Power, the Swarm, and the Literatures of the Americas,recently published in the Caribbean Studies series at the University Press of Mississippi. He is currently researching a history of the public humanities during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This project was the subject of a recent presentation Dr. Henkel gave at UW, titled "The Humanities and the Land Grant University Mission from the 19th to the 21st Century"; this presentation is available at <https://youtu.be/QZtfpmoy7Vg>.
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.
Dr. Maggi Maier Murdock is a native of Wyoming. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska) in Political Science in 1970, her Master’s degree from Tufts University (Medford, Massachusetts) in Political Science 1974, and her Ph.D. from Tufts University in Political Science in 1978. 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 Wyoming Humanities Council from 1988 – 1993, serving as president from 1991-1992. Maggi served on the Higher Learning Commission Board of Trustees for 8 years and is currently a member of the HLC Committee on Strategy and the HLC Partners for Transformation. She also serves on the Wyoming Public Media Public Advisory Council and the Wyoming ReNEW Board. She was elected to the board in 2019.
Mary holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wyoming and a B.A. in English. Most of her professional career has been involved in the public sector, including working for the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office for 17 years, serving six Attorneys General and four governors. She also served as the Cheyenne City Attorney and as the executive director of the Wyoming State Bar Association. She taught high school English and later in her career served as adjunct English instructor at Laramie County Community College. She has always believed that the arts and humanities greatly enrich our lives and has played trombone for the Cheyenne Civic Concert Band and actively participates in book and discussion groups. She was elected to the board in 2016.
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 nearly 40 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. He presently serves on the board of the Foundation of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming and monitors grants throughout the state. He continues as an active Episcopal clergy in both Wyoming and Montana. He serves as President of Friends of a Legacy (FOAL), the wild horse advocacy organization headquartered in Cody. 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. 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.
Milward was Wyoming State Director for The Nature Conservancy until late 2019. He served from 2006 to 2016 as Director of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. Prior to his appointment, he served for two years as Manager of the Wyoming Arts Council. Before entering public service, he spent several years as a working musician, musical theater director and non-profit arts organization administrator in Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming. Simpson has served on the boards of a number of national, regional and state organizations including the America's State Parks Foundation, The Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and The Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund. He holds a BA in Music Performance from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Humanities from the University of Colorado at Denver. He was elected to the board in 2018.