PA Humanities is proud to announce that its executive director, Laurie Zierer, is among the exemplary professionals named to the 2022 City & State Pennsylvania Fifty Over 50 list. This year saw a record number of nominations for this distinguished award recognizing the state’s “most influential difference-makers.” The list includes governor Tom Wolf, Al Schmidt, President and CEO of Committee of Seventy, and Angela Val, President and CEO of Visit Philadelphia.
Zierer is a Hollidaysburg native who joined PA Humanities in 1995 as a program officer and, after playing a number of leadership roles in the organization, was named executive director in 2012. She holds degrees from Temple University and Penn State and now serves on the board of Leadership Philadelphia.
Recently, Zierer spearheaded PA Humanities’ recovery and growth initiatives and its core programs: PA Heart & Soul, Teen Reading Lounge, and Chester Made. She is currently overseeing the PA Humanities Discovery Project which seeks to celebrate, map, and network the state’s humanities ecosystem, in collaboration with Drexel University. Her upcoming article, “Learning as We Go: How Emergent Process Supports Sustainable Community and Philanthropic Change,” co-authored with Elizabeth Myrick and Rachel Mosher-Williams, will be published later this year in Foundation Review.
“My heart is smiling with this honor,” said Zierer. “I have been humbled and grateful for the privilege of imagining how the humanities — and our human connection with one another — can transform us, our homes, and communities in Pennsylvania. I am accepting this award in recognition of all those connections we have made, and all the people who have been part of our work at PA Humanities.”
Fifty Over 50 awardees were honored with a special ceremony and dinner at Moshulu in Philadelphia on October 11. Attending from PA Humanities were board chair Cheryl Matherly, PhD, vice president and vice provost for international affairs at Lehigh University, former board chair Sr. Mary Persico, Ed.D, president of Marywood University, Dawn Frisby Byers, senior director of content and engagement, and Ken Dinitz, development director.
“Laurie is perfectly suited to achieve the Fifty over 50 recognition,” said Persico. “She is not only committed to, but is also passionate about, the work she undertakes every day. Her authenticity, integrity, and sense of respect for all are qualities that eminently qualify her for such an honor.”
“Laurie Zierer’s recognition as one of Pennsylvania’s Fifty Over 50 acknowledges the significant impact of her leadership at PA Humanities,” said Matherly. “It is her vision for how the humanities can be the vehicle for empowering people to affect change in their communities that has made PA Humanities a national model and a positive force to improve the quality of life for residents across the state.”