Bruce Cole, Chairman
ORG National Endowment for the Humanities Title BIO Bruce Cole is the eighth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. As NEH chairman, Cole has launched We the People, an initiative to encourage the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. The initiative includes summer workshops at our nation's historic landmarks to enhance teachers' knowledge of American history, and a program to distribute classic children's books to libraries and schools across the country. We the People has also begun a partnership with the Library of Congress to catalogue and digitize the story of our past as told in America's historic newspapers. When the National Digital Newspaper Program is complete, Americans will be able to search 30 million pages via the Internet. Under Cole's leadership, the Endowment is also spearheading the application of digital technology to the humanities through its Digital Humanities Initiative, begun in 2006. During his tenure as chairman, the NEH's budget has increased for research, preservation, education, and public programs on American history and culture and for the study of culture in other lands and in earlier civilizations. Cole came to the Endowment in December 2001 from Indiana University in Bloomington, where he was Distinguished Professor of Art History and Professor of Comparative Literature. Appointed by President George W. Bush, Cole was chosen for a second term in 2005, a reappointment unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate. Cole's connection with the Endowment dates back to his receiving an NEH fellowship to research early Florentine painting. He subsequently served as a panelist in NEH's peer review system, and then as a member for seven years of the National Council on the Humanities, a presidentially appointed 26-member advisory board to NEH. Cole has written fourteen books, many of them about the Renaissance. They include The Renaissance Artist at Work; Sienese Painting in the Age of the Renaissance; Italian Art, 1250-1550: The Relation of Art to Life and Society; Titian and Venetian Art, 1450-1590; and Art of the Western World: From Ancient Greece to Post-Modernism. His most recent book is The Informed Eye: Understanding Masterpieces of Western Art. Cole was born in Ohio and attended Case Western Reserve University. He earned his master's degree from Oberlin College and his doctorate from Bryn Mawr College. For two years he was the William E. Suida Fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence. He has held fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, Kress Foundation, American Philosophical Society, and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a corresponding member of the Accademia Senese degli Intronati, the oldest learned society in Europe, and a founder and former co-president of the Association for Art History. He and his wife Doreen live in the District of Columbia and have two grown children.