April 3, 2008
Esther Mackintosh, the CEO and “public face” of humanities councils across the United States, will speak at her alma mater, Morningside College, at noon Friday, April 11, in the Yockey Family Community Room of the Olsen Student Center, 3609 Peters Ave.
The public is invited to the free event, which is sponsored by three Morningside College organizations: Friday is Writing Day, Alpha Lambda Delta and the Academic and Cultural Arts Series (ACAS).
Mackintosh is president of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, which has a membership of 54 state humanities councils.
Humanities councils were created by Congress in the early 1970s. The independent, nonprofit organizations support programs in each state and U.S. territory. These programs range from book discussion groups to museum exhibits to films, oral history projects, community seminars and much more. Humanities councils receive an annual congressional appropriation through the National Endowment for the Humanities, which for most councils is supplemented by state and private funding.
Mackintosh is returning to Morningside College this month to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Friday is Writing Day and to receive an “Outstanding Alum” award from Morningside’s chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta. Friday is Writing Day is a weekly lunch series at Morningside where scheduled guests share writing of all types, and Alpha Lambda Delta is a national honor society for first-year college and university students.
Mackintosh grew up in rural Livermore, Iowa, and received a bachelor’s degree from Morningside College in 1969, with majors in English and German. Later she earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in American literature from Kansas State University. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Mackintosh worked as a writer and editor for two magazines, “Science 80” and “Horticulture.” In between, she spent two years working as a script writer for the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia.
Joining the staff of the Federation of State Humanities Councils in 1986, Mackintosh served as vice president and interim president before being hired as president in 2004. In these capacities she has written or edited various Federation publications. She was active for many years in community literacy programs in Washington, D.C.
Mackintosh was one of six distinguished alumni invited to give a lecture on the Morningside College campus 13 years ago during the college’s centennial celebrations.
“Dr. Esther Mackintosh’s speech during the college’s centennial led me to realize how her work has promoted literacy, the humanities and civic discourse all across the United States,” said Marty Knepper, who serves Morningside as professor and chair of English, advisor for Alpha Lambda Delta and coordinator of Friday is Writing Day. “What better person could we invite to help us celebrate Friday is Writing Day’s 20th birthday?”