Press Release


Terms Began July 1st

CHICAGO – The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that six distinguished Illinoisans have joined the board. They are: Joel F. Henning, Diane L. Nyhammer, Thomas C. Pavlik, John H. Peterson, Robert P. Scales and Theodoros G. Zervas.  On July 1st, each member began a three-year term and is eligible for two more terms.  

Joel F. Henning is a lawyer, consultant and writer. He is principal of Joel Henning & Associates. His firm consults throughout the world with law firms, corporate law departments and government agencies. For more than 20 years he has written cultural columns for The Wall Street Journal. He is a regular lecturer at several law schools including The University of Chicago and Northwestern University. His books include Holistic Running, Maximizing Law Firm Profitability and Law-Related Education in America. Joel has been a trustee of Columbia College of Chicago and served on several not-for-profit boards including the ACLU of Illinois. He was Chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Financing the Arts in Illinois, a member of the Illinois Arts Council, the American Theatre Critics’ Association, and the Joseph Jefferson (theatrical) Awards Committee. Joel is a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation and has served in the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association.

Diane L. Nyhammer is Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Rock Valley College, Rockford, IL. Previously, she was the Executive Dean of Humanities, Distance Education, and Professional Development at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, IL.  She has also worked as an Assistant Director for Academic Affairs at the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Assistant Director of Accreditation Services at the Higher Learning Commission, and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Colorado Mountain College.  She continues to serve as a peer reviewer and as an Assessment Academy mentor for the Higher Learning Commission.  Diane’s community service includes serving on the boards of the Mid-America Horse Show Association, the Burpee Museum of Natural History, the American Association of Learning in Higher Education, and the OSF St. Anthony Hospital advisory board.  Diane has a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Loyola University and a Master’s in English from Northern Illinois University.

Thomas C. Pavlik is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is admitted to practice law in Illinois, Texas and Ohio. Tom graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1989, and from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1992. In law school, he served as Senior Editor of the Notre Dame Law Review and graduated Magna Cum Laude. After graduation, he clerked for Chief Justice Benjamin K. Miller of the Illinois Supreme Court, and in 1993 began his private practice as an associate in the Dallas office of international law firm Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue. He then practiced with Figari & Davenport, LLP, a cutting edge litigation boutique, where he concentrated on both plaintiff and defense sides of complex commercial litigation. Tom joined his family firm, Delano Law Offices, LLC, in 1999. His practice is concentrated in the areas of general business law, real estate, employment matters and commercial litigation. In his capacity as Special Assistant Attorney General, he represents the State of Illinois in eminent domain proceedings. Tom is a monthly legal affairs columnist for the Springfield Business Journal and is a regular legal affairs commentator for News Channel 20. He is or has been a board member of numerous Springfield civic and religious organizations, including currently serving as incoming President of the YMCA Board of Directors and on the Board of Directors for the Salvation Army. In 2001, Tom was also recognized as one of Springfield’s “Forty Under Forty” business and community leaders.

John H. Peterson is a Vice President in Public Finance at William Blair & Company, where he works with non-profit cultural, social and educational organizations, and municipalities to raise tax-exempt capital. Deeply committed to the humanities, he has pursued avocational interests in music, literature and the arts, as a Trustee of Interlochen Center for the Arts and as a member of various library support groups including currently the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Libraries. He has taught classes at the Newberry Library on the American poets Robert Frost, Richard Wilbur, James Merrill and Elizabeth Bishop. He holds a BA cum laude from Amherst and has two Master of Arts degrees from the University of Chicago, one in Public Policy Studies and the other in the Humanities.

Robert P. Scales graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Philosophy, and afterward went to law school at Lewis and Clark College of Law in Portland, Oregon.  He has had a life-long devotion to the humanities and to music, and is now completing his master’s degree in Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago. Bob has practiced law in Chicago for 30 years, first at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and later at a law firm, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and a brokerage house.  At present, he is general counsel of the Acorn Funds, a $24 billion family of mutual funds.  In addition to his law practice, Bob taught at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and is a frequent speaker at fund industry conferences. He lives in Winnetka with his wife, Mary Keefe, and two teenage boys, Sam and Emmet. 

Theodoros (Ted) G. Zervas was born in Chicago to immigrant parents from Greece. He received his BA in History and Political Science from DePaul University, MA in History with Distinction from DePaul, MSED from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Ph.D. in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies for Loyola University Chicago. Prior to North Park, Ted taught World and European history in the regular, honors and International Baccalaureate program at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago. While at Lincoln Park, Ted also taught as a part-time teaching associate at Northwestern University. In 2006, Ted was appointed Director/Assistant Professor of the Master of Arts Program and Teacher Certification (MATC) at North Park University in Chicago and continues to work in this position today. His academic papers have been published in both the United States and Europe. Ted has also been a visiting professor of History at Instituto Technologico Y De Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Chihuahua, Mexico. Ted enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends. Currently Ted lives in the Northwest side of Chicago 

“We are so pleased to add Joel, Diane, Tom, John, Bob, and Ted to our board of directors,” said Kristina A.Valaitis, IHC Executive Director. “They each bring a deep appreciation of the humanities, knowledge of Illinois, and individual creativity and expertise to the organization.”

Currently, 32 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); Adam P. Green (Chicago); Joel F. Henning (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); Diane L. Nyhammer (Rockford); Thomas C. Pavlik (Springfield); John H. Peterson (Chicago); Gordon Quinn (Chicago); Robert P. Scales (Chicago); Gerald Skoning (Chicago); Roger L. Taylor (Galesburg); David Thigpen (Chicago); Nancy Tom (Chicago); Maria (Nena) Torres (Chicago); Kay Torshen (Chicago); The Honorable George Van Dusen (Skokie); John A. Wing (Evanston); and Theodoros G. Zervas (Chicago).

 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.


# # #