Press Release

Humanities Council Eager to pay Illinoisans to let their Curiosity Wander

CHICAGO, IL- April 4, 2014— The Illinois Humanities Council is seeking thoughtful and passionate Illinoisans who wish to be part of a traveling speakers bureau, and pique the curiosity and intellect of people all over the state. 

The Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is now accepting applications through May 5 to become part of the 2014-15 roster of speakers who will present at libraries, historical societies, museums, civic, community, and other public places across Illinois. 

Since 1996, the IHC Road Scholars Speakers Bureau has connected writers, musicians, historians, anthropologists and living history actors with non-profit organizations in towns big and small, who are eager to give their community a memorable program that fascinates and educates, all for a small fee. While the topics range from science and literature to music, philosophy and government, all are presented by engaging speakers who are well-researched in their subject and eager to connect with audiences across the state.   

“The audience included everyone from a man who learned to fly during World War II to a young girl who recently gave a report on Earhart for her 5th grade class,” recalled current Road Scholar Leslie Goddard on a recent presentation. Her program, “Never Lost”, focuses on Amelia Earhart. “Everyone hung around afterwards for cookies and to talk more about what inspires humans to want to fly. Such a fun and stimulating afternoon!” 

The IHC hopes to generate interest from not only scholars, but also those among the general public with a deep, palpable interest in a subject who are eager to share and elicit from an audience the same curiosity that gravitated them to the subject. 

 “We are interested in topics of any subject, as long as they challenge and surprise their audiences,” said Mallory Laurel, the IHC’s coordinator for the program. “We want them to take audiences on a journey in which they can examine the world in all its varied shades, while learning and having fun.”  

 Speakers receive an honorarium and reimbursement for meals, lodging and mileage. These benefits, which mean presenting up to 6 times per year around the state of Illinois, is not always the biggest perk of the program: 

“The experience has made me realize that people everywhere are looking for opportunities to learn more, to discover something that they didn’t know before,” says longtime Road Scholar Bucky Halker. “That inspires me to work harder.”

Applications for the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau will be accepted now through May 5, 2014. Forms and more detailed information are available through the IHC website, For more information on the program, or for organizations interested in hosting a speaker, please contact Mallory Laurel, Program Coordinator, at (312) 422-5585 ext. 239, or by email at     

About the Illinois Humanities Council 

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. 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. 

Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5580, x233