UMaine McGillicuddy Humanities Center to celebrate first decade with ‘The Future of the Humanities’ discussion Oct. 14

The University of Maine Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center, Alumni Association and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will host a free public discussion about “The Future of Humanities” on Oct. 14 at 3 p.m. at the Collins Center for the Arts. The event, which will take place during Homecoming 2022, will celebrate the McGillicuddy Humanities Center’s first decade of operation.

The discussion about the role of the humanities in the current social, cultural and political moment will feature Heather Cox Richardson, professor of history at Boston College, and Brian Naylor, veteran National Public Radio correspondent.

Richardson teaches nineteenth-century American history at Boston College. Among her award-winning books examining political ideology are her history of the Republican Party, “To Make Men Free” and “How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America.” Richardson is president of The Historical Society, an organization designed to bring academic history to general readers, and her expertise has been widely utilized by such journalistic organizations as the New York Times, Bloomberg,, BBC, The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. 

Richardson also is the proprietor of the most-subscribed Substack newsletter, “Letters From an American,” which is read by millions daily through both subscriptions and social media sharing. In recognition of her prominent role as a public intellectual, on Feb. 25, 2022, Richardson was invited to interview President Biden “in the China Room of the White House to talk about American democracy and the struggles we face.”

Naylor is a 1978 graduate of the University of Maine and recently retired from National Public Radio where he worked for nearly 40 years as a Washington, D.C.-based reporter covering politics, Congress and federal agencies such as transportation and homeland security. Naylor worked as a newscaster on “All Things Considered” and filled in as host on many NPR programs during his career, including “Morning Edition,” “Weekend Edition” and “Talk of the Nation.” During his NPR career, Naylor has covered many major world events. Naylor reported from Tokyo in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, from New Orleans following the BP oil spill and from West Virginia after the deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine. While covering the U.S. Congress in the mid-1990s, Naylor’s reporting contributed to NPR’s 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism award for political reporting. Naylor currently serves on the Advisory Board of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center, and in 2013 he was the Alan Miller Fund Visiting Journalist in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine.

The Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center supports excellent teaching, research and public engagement in the humanities to deepen understanding of the human condition. The MHC supports programs that foster intellectual curiosity, critical reflection and creative innovation. Central to the Center’s work is the belief that study of the humanities inspires compassion across differences, develops empathy, strengthens critical thinking skills, and cultivates the emotional and intellectual agility needed to navigate an increasingly interconnected and complex global landscape.