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California Humanities Council Director Jim Quay '68 is leading the state's residents in celebrating late novelist John Steinbeck's 100th birthday through community readings of The Grapes of Wrath. Launched in October 2001, “The Grapes of Wrath” project was designed to strengthen California communities by joining people from all walks of life in discussion.

“There has never been a time since 1850 when more than half of the people living in California were born in the state,” says Quay. Discourse on the book is supplemented by film programs, scholar-led discussions, musical events, family history days, and dramatic readings to bring people together.

Quay is responsible for forging partnerships in the private and public sectors, working with the council's diverse board, and choreographing the efforts of his staff. “Finding resources to fund and develop public programs at a scale that does justice to the size and diversity of the state of California” is a major challenge, he says.

“My education at Lafayette gave me a broad base of knowledge and prepared me to be a life-long learner, which is quite useful in a constantly changing professional world,” adds Quay, an English graduate.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles