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History of California Humanities – 2015-Present

What were you doing in 1975…1985…1995?

What were you doing in 1975…1985…1995?

Since California Humanities first opened its doors in 1975,  we have sought to encourage people to:

  • learn more about the complex history of our state and all its peoples
  • to gain greater understanding of our individual and collective experiences,
  • to think  about the values, dreams, and aspirations we share so that we can work to create the California we want to see in the future.

This has been and remains at the forefront of our vision of what the humanities should be and can do – connect us all through the human experience.

When we celebrated our 40th anniversary in 2015,we decided it was a good time to take stock of what California Humanities and our partners have accomplished over the past four decades. Organized chronologically by 10-year intervals pegged to milestone events in the wider world, this timeline is supplemented by short stories and illustrative materials related to key programs, projects, and people who have made outstanding contributions to  our mission. As you will see, our history reflects our deep commitment to the core values of the humanities while striving for innovation, relevance, and responsiveness to an ever-changing world.

Over time, we will be adding more material and new information to this site. If you are a past grantee, project partner, or program participant, consider sharing your experiences with us here – we’d love to hear from you. We hope you will enjoy this brief excursion through our past and that you’ll join us as we write the next chapter of California Humanities’ story.

Julie Fry
President & CEO

Credits: This timeline was developed by California Humanities staff with support from two University of California Public Fellows, Sarah Papazoglakis (UC Santa Cruz, Literature) and Cherish Asha Bolton (UC Irvine, History.) We appreciate the contributions made by other staff members, former and current, and the generosity of all those who shared their stories and impressions with us.


In the current decade the vision for California Humanities has grown to see new leadership, new grants programs and a strategic focus on education, public engagement and field building.

2015-Present

2015

Julie Fry, President & CEO

Cal Humanities Hires Julie Fry as its First Female President & CEO

Julie joined California Humanities as its President and CEO in 2015. Previously, Julie served as a Program Officer for the Performing Arts Program at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California. She..Read More

2015

2015

2015

2016

2016

2016

California Humanities Begins Work on its New 5 Year Strategic Goal

California Humanities Begins Work on its New 5 Year Strategic Goal

In the past two years, an organizational refresh, building upon our past work, has provided us with a new framework for strategic thinking to guide us forward. Last year we went..Read More

2017

2017

California Humanities Launches its “Whats Your California Story?” Organization Video

California Humanities Launches its “Whats Your California Story?” Organization Video

California. A state of almost 40 million people, with millions of stories to share. A state of writers, filmmakers, storytellers and artists. A state of innovators and thinkers. A state of..Read More

2017

2018