Saturday, November 09, 2019

Ten Years as an Arizona Humanities Speaker Comes to an End

On October 30, 2019 and after ten years, I gave my final talk as an Arizona Humanities Speaker. It was in 2009 that I submitted my initial application to the program and gratefully, I was accepted. In those ten years I estimate that I have given over 50 presentations around the state of Arizona to audiences from Ajo to Grand Canyon, and Lake Havasu City to Springerville.

The program is a fantastic bargain for libraries, civic groups, informal education groups, and historical societies. Sponsoring hosts submit a $100 application fee for a speaker, chosen from a catalog of about 50 speakers. Currently, each speaker has two lectures they can give (when I began the program in 2010 speakers could list up to four lectures). Then, AZ Humanities using grant contributions from the National Endowment for the Humanities and individual contributions to the program pays each speaker an honorarium, travel funds, meal, and hotels costs (if needed).

Through the years my lectures have included "Carving Grand Canyon", "Ancient Landscapes of the American Southwest", and "In the Footsteps of Martha Summerhayes: Or How I Touched a Real Piece of Arizona History While Sailing Around an Iceberg in Greenland". While it might seem odd to see some geology titles in a Humanities program, all of my lectures involve telling how scientific ideas came to fruition by human endeavors. They are never just about the rocks.

Sadly, my application for the next two year cycle was not accepted and so I have come to the end of this satisfying adventure in my life. Below are some photos of the venue for my final lecture.

Thank you Arizona Humanities and good luck!

My final lecture was given in Florence Arizona, one of the 10 oldest Anglo settlements in the state. The venue was the McFarland State Historic Park, named after Ernest McFarland, the former US Senator from Arizona (1941-1953), Senate Majority Leader (1951-1953 - until he was upset running for a third term as Senator by an upstart named Barry Goldwater), Governor of Arizona (1954-1958), and Supreme Court of Arizona (1964-1968).

The building served as the original Pinal County Courthouse and was built in 1879. In 1891 it was repurposed as the County Hospital.

My lecture was given in the old courtroom, where many a Wild West trial was held.

After the lecture, my hosts held a small gathering in the beautiful outdoor venue behind the courthouse. One door closes and another opens.

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