Executive Director Debbie Watrous to leave NH Humanities after 24 years

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New Hampshire Humanities announces that Executive Director Deborah Watrous will be leaving New Hampshire this fall for a new position in Boston. Watrous has served New Hampshire Humanities for 24 years in many capacities – as its first development director, director of special projects, associate director, and finally, executive director since 2004.

On October 16, she’ll begin a new position in Boston with FoodCorps, a national nonprofit that connects children to healthy food in school so they can lead healthier lives and reach their full potential. This fall, Watrous and her husband will move from Concord to the Boston area, putting them closer to their daughter, a third-grade teacher in the Boston Public Schools and a former FoodCorps service worker.

“Hardly a day has gone by that I haven’t learned something new, and I have had the opportunity to work with and for some of the smartest, kindest, most dedicated people in New Hampshire,” said Watrous. “Now, it’s time for a change – for me and for this organization. It’s time for me to move on to a new challenge, and time for New Hampshire Humanities to move on to its next phase of growth and success.”

“We will deeply miss Debbie and cannot sufficiently express our gratitude for what she has given to New Hampshire Humanities these past 24 years,” said Chair Ellen Scarponi. “We congratulate Debbie and wish her the best of luck in her new venture. And now we begin the process of finding our next executive director, who will continue to build on the strengths and vitality Debbie created.” Scarponi continued, “To that end, the Board has formed a search task force and hopes to announce the appointment of an interim director within the next few weeks.”

In a letter this week to constituents, Watrous remarked, “This change is both exciting and bittersweet as I say goodbye to beloved colleagues. Fortunately, through the dedication and talent of those same colleagues, I leave a dynamic organization that is poised to launch an exciting new phase of programmatic growth supported by more than $2.1M in capital funds that we, together, have raised." Scarponi concurred, noting “New Hampshire Humanities, having just completed a highly successful capital campaign, is as strong programmatically and financially as it ever has been, and we thank Debbie for her enormous role in bringing us to this level.”

“Over the past 43 years, New Hampshire Humanities has created a foundation of high-quality, accessible public programming that promotes knowledge and understanding and fosters critical thinking and respectful conversation – essential work for the health of our communities and our Republic,” Watrous said. “This has been a shared effort of brilliant scholars, dedicated organizational partners, and the best staff and board in NH. New Hampshire Humanities is respected within the state and nationally among our peer organizations, Congressional delegation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, thanks to the efforts of many, many people.”

Photo by John Benford Photography