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Mission Statement

The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture is a nonprofit educational organization whose purpose is to enrich and deepen the practical life of the city with the wisdom and imagination of the humanities.

The Dallas Institute accomplishes its purpose through programs for school teachers and principals, general courses of study, public and professional seminars, publications, conferences, and civic involvement.


The Institute's purpose is to enrich and deepen lives through the wisdom and imagination of the humanities. The humanities, as we treat them, are the written things and the spoken stories that help us define ourselves as human beings - literature, history, philosophy, politics, psychology, and mythology, among other fields.

Since 1980, the Dallas Institute has conducted public programs aimed at discovering what the humanities have to offer to the cultural life of the city, and we accomplish this through classes and group studies; through public and professional seminars, through conferences and civic involvement; through programs for school teachers and principals; and through publications.


The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, a beacon for imaginative thought, dialogue, and programs grounded in the wisdom of the humanities, is helping to shape in positive ways our quality of life today - our conduct, traditions, decision-making, problem-solving, and creativity.


The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture was established in November 1980 as a nonprofit organization by Drs. Donald Cowan, Louise Cowan, Gail Thomas, James Hillman, Robert Sardello, and Joanne Stroud. Once colleagues at the University of Dallas, these Founding Fellows brought their common spirit to the heart of Dallas to imagine what the humanities might mean for the shaping of a modern city. Programs were offered in education, psychology, civic virtues and city planning, and publications.

The Founders' belief in the vital importance of classic literature and concern for public education led to the creation of The Teachers Academy in 1983, which has had an enduring influence on thousands of teachers, administrators, and students.

Dr. Gail Thomas was the Institute Executive Director from its beginning until 1997, when Dr. Larry Allums succeeded her as the Institute's second Executive Director. Under his leadership, the Institute maintains its strong commitment to offering the vision of the humanities to all areas of urban life. In 2004, Dr. Claudia Allums was appointed Associate Director of the Dallas Institute and was named the third Director of the Teachers Academy, after Dr. Dona Gower and Dr. Glenn Arbery. The Teachers Academy continues to foster the ideals that have made its perennial work with teachers "a model for the nation," according to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dr. Louise Cowan continues to teach in and serve as the primary advisor for the programs of the Teachers Academy. Dr. Joanne Stroud continues to direct the Institute's Publications, and she and Dr. Gail Thomas serve as advisors and teachers in programs in psychology and culture.



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