Press Release


Three-year terms began July 1. 

CHICAGO The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) Board of Directors elected five new members at its April 24th meeting. The new members are Rodrigo del Canto, Adam P. Green, Thomas E. Kallen, Roger L. Taylor, and Kay Torshen. On July 1st, each member began a three-year term and is eligible for two more terms.

Rodrigo del Canto is an architect with over 30 years of national and international experience in the areas of urban design, architecture, community development and economic development, as well as redevelopment planning and historic preservation. Mr. del Canto’s notable accomplishments include leading the redevelopment of Navy Pier in Chicago in the early 1980’s and directing the Collateral Development Opportunities Study for the three most important airports in Mexico City in 1992. He has held several senior positions in the City of Chicago Departments of Planning, Development and the Mayor’s Office. Mr. del Canto represented the United States in the Quito, Ecuador Biennale of Architecture for planning efforts in the Humboldt community of Chicago which has been an example nationwide of creative redevelopment efforts with large community participation in strongly ethnic enclaves.  His degrees include a B.A. in Civil Engineering from George Washington University in Washington D.C., a B.A. and an M. Arch. in Architecture from Clemson University and a doctorate from the University of Venice, Italy.

Adam P. Green is associate professor of American history at the University of Chicago. His fields of study are modern U.S. history, African American history, urban history, comparative racial politics, and cultural economy. His publications include Selling the Race: Culture and Community in Black Chicago, 1940-1955 (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming) and Time Longer than Rope: Studies in African American Activism, 1850-1950 (co- editor Charles Payne, New York University Press, forthcoming). He holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Thomas E. Kallen retired after 35 years as chairman and chief executive officer of Bake-Line Products, Inc., the largest private label manufacturer of cookies in the United States. Company volume exceeded $100 million dollars annually. In 1993, the company was sold to United Biscuit P.L.C. of the U.K. which also owned the Keebler Company in the United States. While continuing as chief executive officer of Bake-Line Products for the next two years, Mr. Kallen also served on the senior management committee of Keebler’s Cookie and Cracker Division. He currently serves as a founding member of the Paul H. Berger Graduate Fellowship Fund and teaches part-time in Columbia College’s Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management Department. Mr. Kallen has a business degree from the University of Illinois.   

Roger L. Taylor, has served as President of Knox College in Galesburg since 2002, having previously been Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. A native of Fulton County, Illinois, Mr. Taylor is a 1959 graduate of Cuba High School. He served in the United States Navy for three and one-half years, including a year in Viet Nam, before entering law school in 1968. Mr. Taylor is an experienced trial lawyer specializing in commercial litigation. He is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) and the ABA Section of Litigation and has been published in the Journal of the ABA Section of Litigation and the San Diego Law Review. Mr. Taylor retired in 1999 from the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, where he practiced for 30 years and remains Of Counsel. Mr. Taylor is married to Anne Zweifel Taylor, a 1963 alumna and Knox College’s Pro Bono Counsel. He received his bachelor’s degree in English from Knox College in 1963. Mr. Taylor graduated with honors from Northwestern University School of Law in 1971 and served as an editor of the law review. 

Kay Torshen is President and Managing Member of Torshen Capital Management, LLC. The firm manages the Plymouth Rock Fund, L.P. (onshore) and the Plymouth Rock Fund, Ltd. (offshore), which are portfolios of actively managed hedge funds targeting stable market returns across a broad range of market environments. She has been a professional trader of equities and derivatives for over twenty years. Ms. Torshen is the author of numerous articles and a book, The Mastery Approach to Competence-Based Education (Academic Press, New York, 1977) in the field of educational psychology. She serves as a board member or trustee of a variety of educational, cultural, and civic institutions.  Ms. Torshen holds the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Chicago, an M.A. from Harvard University, and a B.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 

"We are so pleased to add Rodrigo, Adam, Thomas, Roger, and Kay to our board of directors," said Kristina A.Valaitis, IHC Executive Director. "They each bring a deep appreciation of the humanities, as well as creativity and individual expertise to the IHC." 

Currently, 33 members comprise the Illinois Humanities Council Board of Directors. They are: 

Alton B. Harris (Chicago), Chair; Danielle Allen (Chicago); Matti Bunzl (Champaign); Rodrigo del Canto (Chicago); Michael C. Dorf (Chicago); Deborah Epstein (Chicago); Stuart Flack (Chicago); The Honorable Joan B. Gottschall (Chicago); Adam P. Green (Chicago); J. Paul Hunter (Chicago); Falona Joy (Chicago); Thomas E. Kallen (Chicago); Gary Koch (Springfield); Greg Koos (Bloomington); Robert F. Lipman (Evanston); Grayson Mitchell (Chicago); Anita Nagler (Chicago); James M. Newcomb (Wilmette); Gayl S. Pyatt (Pinckneyville); Gordon Quinn (Chicago); Mike Ross (Urbana); Patricia Jean Simon (Makanda); Gerald Skoning (Chicago); Arthur M. Sussman (Chicago); Roger L. Taylor (Galesburg); Rolf Thienemann (Rockford); David Thigpen (Chicago); Nancy Tom (Chicago); Maria (Nena) Torres (Chicago); Kay Torshen (Chicago); George Van Dusen (Skokie); Willard E. White (Oak Park); and John A. Wing, (Evanston).

The IHC accepts public nominations for new Board members throughout the year. For more information about the IHC, call 312.422.5580 or visit

The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

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