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2023 Board Members who joined the Wisconsin Humanities board

Welcome new 2023 board members!

Four New Members Join Wisconsin Humanities in June 2023


We are excited to welcome new board members to Wisconsin Humanities' board: (pictured above left to right) Janet T. Bewley, David J. O'Connor, Nengher N. Vang, and Jim O'Connell.

Our volunteer board hails from all over the state and shares expertise and guidance to our work in the public humanities.

As we welcome new members, we also extend our deepest gratitude to our retiring members Mario Jiménez Chacón, Kathy Laakso, Jesus Salas, Sonny Smart, and John Viste, as well as Governor's Appointees Inga Cushman and Todd Larson. We are especially grateful to them for their clarity of vision, dedicated work, and ongoing passion as we celebrated Wisconsin Humanities' 50th anniversary and envisioned the next 50. With our board members we never really say goodbye, but we do extend a heartfelt Thank You.


2023 Members:


Janet T. Bewley

Janet T. Bewley is an American politician and former Democratic minority leader in the Wisconsin State Senate. She was a member of the Legislature from 2011 through 2023, representing eleven counties in northwestern Wisconsin. She served on the Ashland City Council, is a former Community Relations Officer for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, and served as Executive Director of a family foundation focused on the arts and social enrichment. She lives in Mason.

David J. O'Connor

David J. O'Connor is the American Indian Studies Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). He is originally from and is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Anishinaabe) in northern Wisconsin. At DPI, he supports school districts' efforts to instruction on the histories, cultures, and tribal sovereignty of the American Indian nations and tribal communities of Wisconsin, which is often referred to as Wisconsin Act 31. He also supports the education of Indigenous students. David currently lives in Madison with his two daughters Ava and Ellie.

Nengher N. Vang

Nengher Vang is an associate professor in the History Department and an affiliated faculty in the Race & Ethnic Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He holds degrees in history, peace studies, theology, and sociology. His research focuses on the history and politics of Hmong Americans who came to the United States as refugees from Laos after the Vietnam War. He has published numerous articles and is currently writing a book on the Hmong’s colonial history and their struggle for national sovereignty. He lives in Deerfield.

Jim O'Connell

Jim O'Connell is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the Wisconsin School of Business. He spent 46 years managing and programming performing arts centers, the last 22 at Wausau’s Grand Theater. He is about to begin his 10th year coordinating the undergraduate arts management program at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Jim serves as a regular grant review panelist for the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin’s Community Arts Grant Program and for the Wisconsin Arts Board’s Creation and Presentation Program. He is a board member and treasurer of the Association of Arts Administration Educators. He lives in Wausau.



Learn more about our Board

Wisconsin Humanities' 25 volunteer board members represent communities all over the state. Approximately half of our board membership is drawn from the academic community and half from the community at large. New members are ordinarily elected to three-year terms at our February meeting, and assume office in June. Six members are appointed by the Governor.

Check out our current board and find a nomination form  ➞

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