SBS Alumna Shelly Lowe Nominated to Chair the National Endowment for the Humanities

Oct. 6, 2021
Shelly C. Lowe

Shelly C. Lowe. Photo by Chris Richards/University of Arizona Alumni Association

On Oct. 5, 2021, President Biden nominated University of Arizona alumna Shelly Lowe as the 12th Chair of the National Endowment of the Humanities, or NEH.

Lowe is the first Native American selected to lead the federal cultural agency, and second woman.

Lowe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Master of Arts in American Indian Studies, and has completed doctoral coursework in Higher Education from the University of Arizona.

Lowe also spent six years as the Graduate Education Program Facilitator for the American Indian Studies Programs at the University of Arizona and is a member of the UArizona Alumni Association Governing Board.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be nominated by President Biden to serve as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities,” said Lowe. “My time serving on the National Council on the Humanities has been immensely rewarding, and I look forward to continuing to serve and advance the humanities in this new role. Ensuring the American people have access to humanities institutions, resources, and programs is absolutely critical in addressing the challenges of the 21st century.”

Lowe grew up on the Navajo reservation and was Arizona’s first Native American Flinn Scholar. She is currently the executive director of the Native American Program at Harvard.

In a recent profile in the Arizona Alumni Magazine, Lowe recalled her time at the University of Arizona:

“There were so many Native mentors and faculty who created a welcoming atmosphere for Native students,” Lowe says. “When I was an undergrad, U of A had the premier Native academics in the country. We were one of two Ph.D. programs. It was a really, really special time.”