Indiana Humanities announces new board members

Five members join the statewide board and new slate of officers elected Indiana Humanities, a statewide nonprofit that encourages Hoosiers to think, read and talk, has elected Tiffany Tolbert as…

Five members join the statewide board and new slate of officers elected

Indiana Humanities, a statewide nonprofit that encourages Hoosiers to think, read and talk, has elected Tiffany Tolbert as board chair and has added five board members.

Tolbert serves as the senior director for preservation for the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Prior to joining the National Trust, Tolbert was the director of Indiana Landmarks’ Northwest Indiana office. She began her career there in 2006 after graduating from Georgia State University with a master’s in historic preservation. She currently also serves on the boards of the Stewart House Urban Farm and Garden, and the City of Hobart Historic Preservation Commission.

“What a remarkable time to be leading an organization that has done so much to cultivate curiosity in Hoosiers over the years,” said Tolbert. “As we wrap up the celebration of our 50th anniversary and hosting of the National Humanities Conference in Indianapolis last month, I’m excited to hit the ground running as Indiana Humanities continues to invite our neighbors to think, read and talk across the state.”

Joining Tolbert on the executive committee are secretary Cheryl Taylor, retired president/CEO, Foellinger Foundation (Fort Wayne); treasurer Mark Maassel, retired president, Indiana Energy Association (Valparaiso); and immediate past chair Chris Gahl, executive vice president at Visit Indy (Indianapolis).

The new board members are:

  • Sara Drury, executive vice president, Unify America, Crawfordsville 
  • Jon Kay, associate professor, folklore and ethnomusicology, and director, Traditional Arts Indiana, Bloomington
  • Jennifer Proud Mearns, CEO, JPM Consulting, Muncie
  • Dani Tippmann, Kiikiyonka community food program director, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Fort Wayne
  • Joseph Tucker Edmonds, associate professor of religious studies and Africana studies, Indiana University Indianapolis School of Liberal Arts; associate director, Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, Indianapolis

Sara Drury

Drury has devoted her career to researching and using communication to promote civic engagement and collaboration across differences. For the last decade, she’s served as an associate professor of rhetoric at Wabash College and as the founding director of Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse, a program devoted to designing and facilitating public deliberation events in local communities. Drury earned her BA at Boston College, and her masters and doctorate at the Pennsylvania State University.

Jon Kay

Kay directs Traditional Arts Indiana at Indiana University, where he also serves as an associate professor in the department of folklore and ethnomusicology. He is the author of Folk Art and Aging: Life-Story Objects and Their Makers and the edited volume The Expressive Lives of Elders: Folklore, Art, and Aging. Kay also creates exhibitions, public programs and documentaries about the traditional arts in Indiana.

Jennifer Proud Mearns

Mearns has more than two decades of experience in executive recruiting and 15 years of experience in the sports marketing industry. In 2003, she founded JPM Consulting Services and has since been providing executive talent acquisition support to global corporations and several boutique recruiting firms. She also proudly serves as first lady of Ball State University.

Dani Tippmann

A descendant of Takumwah and Chief Richardville (Pinšiwa), Tippmann is a Myaamia citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. She is a tradition bearer for Myaamia culture, including traditional crafts, foodways and plant usage. Having dedicated her life to this artform, Tippmann has worked with the Eiteljorg Museum, the Indiana Arts Commission and Indiana State Parks. She gathers the traditions of her people and serves as an important knowledge bearer for the next generation. Tippmann received a 2021 Indiana Heritage Fellowship in recognition of her work. Currently, she serves as the Kiihkayonki Community Food Program Director for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma in the Fort Wayne area.

Joseph Tucker Edmonds

Tucker Edmonds earned his BA in religious studies and economics from Brown University, his master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and his Ph.D in religious studies from Duke University. His research interests are Black and womanist theologies, alternative Christianities in the Black Atlantic and the role of scripture in African and African American religious traditions. Tucker Edmonds’ book, The Other Black Church: Alternative Christian Movements and the Struggle for Black Freedom, was published in the fall of 2020.