Stanley N. Katz, PhD
Stanley N. Katz devoted 37 years to the board of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
He is the Council’s longest-serving board member. In his wide-ranging career, he defied all the conventional trajectories that a career in the humanities entails.
An esteemed faculty member, he spent most of his career teaching at Princeton, where he has been beloved by students and colleagues for more than four decades; Stan also was one of the leaders of the national humanities community as president of the American Council of Learned Societies. An elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, among many other honors, he has also served on numerous nonprofit boards in and beyond the public humanities.
In all of these roles, Stan has been a passionate and unwavering advocate for the public humanities, furthering them through innovative collaborations between the world of formal scholarship and the world of the public humanities, while defending both enterprises at the national level.
And in each of the many humanities communities he inhabited, he built productive networks of people who admired him for his brains, kindness, and good humor. For his contributions as a brilliant scholar, teacher, advocate, and public historian President Barack Obama honored him in 2011 with the National Humanities Medal, the capstone of an exceptional and unique career.
In 2010, Stanley N. Katz was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. The National Humanities Medal, inaugurated in 1997, honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities and broadened our citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects. Up to 12 medals can be awarded each year.
In January 2022, as a kickoff to our 50th Anniversary series, NJCH hosted “Engaging the Public and Shaping Civic Life,” a discussion about public humanities in New Jersey featuring Dr. Katz and Dr. Christopher Fisher of The College of New Jersey.
The event recording is available on the NJCH Youtube channel.
Stan’s contributions to the public humanities are countless.
“I was committed to the humanities as an undergraduate student, although I could not have defined “humanities” at the time. I instinctively gravitated to the fields of knowledge that dealt with human values, and although I have changed my field of study repeatedly, the constant in my life is that all the fields are humanistic. I am interested in the reasons why people make the important choices in their lives, and that is the concern of the humanist.”