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Five Appointed to California Council for the Humanities Board of Directors.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Council for the Humanities today announced that five distinguished individuals representing a variety of public and academic interests have joined its board of directors. The new members are attorney Robert Feyer, consumer and health policy advocate Ruth Holton-Hodson, civil and human rights advocate Benjamin Todd Jealous, UCSD professor and author Max Parra, and gay rights advocate Curtis F. Shepard.

Council Executive Director Jim Quay said, "We are very proud to welcome this remarkable group of California leaders to the Council. Each of them brings a unique set of experiences, talents and perspectives that is certain to serve the Council well."

Each of the new members will serve one three-year term, renewable once, for a potential six years of service. The following are their individual biographies:

* Robert Feyer is a partner in the global law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. He works in the firm's Public Finance Department, where he represents state and local governments in the issuance of municipal bonds for a wide variety of projects. For more than 20 years, Feyer has been the lead bond attorney for the state of California, supervising the issuance of tens of billions of dollars of long-term bonds and short-term notes for the state. A transplanted New Yorker, Feyer and his wife have raised three sons in San Francisco. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. In the early 1970s, he took a leave of absence from the Orrick firm to carry out his military service as a lawyer in the Air Force and to serve as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. John V. Tunney.

* Ruth Holton-Hodson is director of public policy for the California Wellness Foundation, where she coordinates and oversees the foundation's public-policy activities and policy-related special project grants. Before joining the foundation, Holton-Hodson served for eight years as the advocate and then executive director of California Common Cause, where she led two successful statewide initiatives for campaign finance reforms and ethics. Previous to that, she was a health lobbyist for the California Children's Lobby, leading a successful effort to increase access to prenatal care for low-income women. She holds a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Chicago. She currently serves as a member of the California Association of Nonprofits' Nonprofit Policy Council and chair of the Northern California Grantmakers Public Policy Committee.

* Benjamin Todd Jealous is president of the Rosenberg Foundation of San Francisco, which seeks to improve policy regarding the economic security of working families and the economic and civic integration of historically disadvantaged communities in California. Before joining the Rosenberg Foundation, he directed the domestic human rights program for Amnesty International. He has also served as executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, program director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, managing editor of a community newspaper, and a community organizer on civil rights lawsuits in Mississippi and New York. Jealous was born and raised in Monterey County, California. He holds a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a master's degree from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

* Max Parra is the UCSD Associate Professor of Latin American Literature and culture, religious studies and popular poetics. He is also the author of numerous books and publications, including "Writing Pancho Villa's Revolution: Rebels in the Literary Imagination of Mexico" (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005). Parra studied Letras hispanicas at the University of Mexico and Latin American literature at Hunter College, New York University and Columbia University. He is writing a book on regional memory and history in post-revolutionary Mexico, based on personal narratives, ballads and photographic archives. Parra is also investigating the topic of social violence and the politics of space in the recent urban literature of Mexico City and the San Diego-Tijuana region.

* Curtis Shepard is the director of Government Relations for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. In this capacity, he acts as primary liaison to government officials at the federal, state and local levels. Previously he was director of the Campus Organizing Project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and served for two terms as a member and co-chair of the task force's board of directors. Shepard, who recently completed a program for senior executives in state and local government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, holds a master's degree in higher education administration from Ball State University and a doctorate in education from the University of California, Los Angeles. Shepard was appointed to the Council by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

About the California Council for the Humanities

The Council is an independent nonprofit organization and state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The mission of the California Council for the Humanities is to foster understanding between people and encourage their engagement in community life through the public use of the humanities. The Council has supported and created programs for more than 30 years that bring Californians together around their history and culture. Since 2001 the Council has been engaged in a statewide initiative, California Stories, designed to tell the larger story of California. The Council's new California Stories campaign, How I See It, is designed to enable young people to share -- in their own words and through a variety of media -- what their lives are like, what they care about, and what it's like to grow up in today's California. For more information, visit the Council's website at www.californiastories.org or contact the Council's administrative office at 415/391-1474.
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Date:Mar 28, 2007
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