I feel deeply honored and fortunate to assume the role of Humanities Texas executive director. When Mike Gillette retired at the end of July, he closed a remarkable sixteen-year tenure during which the organization grew and flourished. Humanities Texas is stronger in 2019 than it was in 2003, with significantly greater capacity to serve the state. Mike’s leadership was the essential catalyst for this success.

I worked with Mike for fifteen of those years, serving as Humanities Texas director of grants and education. Hence, while this is a period of transition, there will be a strong element of continuity in the change. Looking ahead, we will continue holding programs for teachers that improve the quality of classroom instruction statewide. Our traveling exhibitions will circulate throughout the state and nation, while our grants will allow communities to develop programs addressing local interests and concerns.

We will also see the emergence of new themes and initiatives. Our programs for educators will place renewed emphasis on civic engagement and teaching critical literacy skills. Programs that we have piloted over the past few years—such as Veterans' Voices, our reading program for veterans and their loved ones, and Texas Storytime, our family reading initiative—will become part of our core operations.

The Humanities Texas mission remains the same: to strengthen Texas communities by cultivating the knowledge and judgment that representative democracy demands of its citizens. Over the next year, I will be traveling throughout the state to conduct programs and talk about our work. I look forward to meeting you and discussing ways we can invest in our future together.

Eric Lupfer.