Utah Humanities Appoints New Executive Director

BW-Headshot-empty-backgroundSalt Lake City, Utah, January 16, 2018 – Utah Humanities announces that Jodi Graham will take the helm as Executive Director, effective March 1. Graham is well-positioned to step into the role, having been associated with Utah Humanities in several capacities for over 14 years. She has most recently served as Assistant Director and Director of UH's Center for Local Initiatives.

"I have a deep appreciation for this organization and the important work it does throughout the state," says Graham. "I've seen firsthand how bringing diverse groups of people together to share ideas and experiences enriches lives and strengthens communities. I'm honored to serve as Executive Director, and excited to work with the talented staff and dedicated board of UH as we move forward together into a bright future."

Utah Humanities engaged in a nationwide executive search process following the announcement of the pending retirement of its Executive Director, Cynthia Buckingham. The rigorous selection process produced a high caliber of finalists from more than 110 applicants from throughout the United States. Before making the final decision, the search committee conducted multiple interviews with board and staff members, and invited key stakeholders to meet the finalists in a community reception.

"The board has the responsibility of selecting the UH Executive Director," remarks David Allred, search committee chair and past chair of Utah Humanities' board of directors. "It is a task that we know is among the most important we have. Because of this, the board ensured that an expansive and rigorous search was conducted to find the best possible leadership at this time of transition. We have deep respect for Cynthia Buckingham and her transformational leadership, and Jodi Graham emerged in the selection process as our unanimous choice to maintain our important work while bringing new ideas and opportunities."

"We are very pleased that Jodi has accepted the offer to become Utah Humanities' next Executive Director," says UH's current board chair, Henry Wurts. "She brings vast institutional knowledge as well as a drive to reach even a broader Utah audience. Cynthia has created the framework for a smooth transition and leaves a legacy of strength that Jodi can build upon. Under Cynthia's direction, we developed new programs within four Centers of focus. Having participated intimately in that process, Jodi is now prepared to help Utah Humanities expand programming, empower a greater number of Utahns, and promote active engagement in the humanities. We look forward to Jodi's leadership, energy, and creativity."

Cynthia Buckingham has been with Utah Humanities since 1983. She has exemplified graceful leadership, and her priorities included diversifying funding sources, increasing outreach activities, and expanding partnerships. Buckingham remarks "It has been such a privilege to work with our amazing staff and committed community leaders from all over the state to demonstrate the essential role of the humanities in our everyday lives. I can't imagine a more rewarding career! I'll always be grateful for this opportunity, and am delighted to know that Utah Humanities will continue to thrive under Jodi's capable leadership."