Keynote Speaker

Susan SwetnamSusan Swetnam

Dr. Susan Swetnam taught in the Department of English and Philosophy at Idaho State University from 1979 until her retirement in 2013, becoming the only faculty member ever to win all three distinguished faculty awards (for teaching, research, and public service). She is the author of many articles and seven books, including collections of personal essays/memoirs (most recently A Season of Little Sacraments, Liturgical Press, 2016) and academic work (including Books, Bluster, and Bounty, Utah State University Press which was chosen as the Idaho Library Association’s Idaho Book of the Year 2012). She has been active every year in public humanities work since awarded her first Idaho Humanities Council grant in 1982 (for the Southeast Idaho Family and Place History Collection project). She served as IHC board member and chair in the late 1980s; has been lead scholar on a variety of Council-conducted projects (Idaho, Tough Paradise; Key Ingredients); has directed several of her own grants (Food and Culture at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Silver Sage Girl Scout Council Centennial Project); and has participated in more than a hundred Let’s Talk About It and Speakers Bureau sessions. She’s also worked in public humanities at the national level, serving on review panels for the Public Programs, Education Programs, and Public Programs divisions of the National Endowment for the Humanities and on NEH site review teams evaluating the Wyoming and Colorado councils. She was awarded IHC’s Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities Award in 2017 for her work in public humanities, education, and writing. Currently she is writing a new book, a blend of memoir and reporting, which chronicles the experience of her “retirement” career as a licensed massage therapist serving hospice patients, people with dementia, cancer survivors, and general clients. She is the widow of the poet, Wordsworthian, and public humanities scholar Ford Swetnam.