American History: What kind of people do we want to be?

The University of New Mexico History Department's Center for the Southwest presents the 2015 C. Ruth and Calvin P. Horn Lecture in Western History and Culture, featuring John Gray, director, National American History Museum at the Smithsonian Institute. He presents, “American History: What Kind of People Do We Want to Be?” Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 5:30 p.m. in Ballroom A of the Student Union Building on UNM main campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Gray is the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He holds a bachelor’s degree from C.W. Post College at Long Island University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado. In 2002, as director of the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, he merged three western cultural organizations—the Autry Museum of Western Heritage (Los Angeles), Colorado’s Women of the West Museum and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian (Los Angeles)—to establish the Autry National Center of the American West.

In 2010, he retired from the Autry and began working on a master’s degree in Eastern classics at St. John’s College in Santa Fe. Shortly into his retirement, Gray accepted the position to lead the Smithsonian’s third largest museum— the National Museum of American History. Prior to his position at the Smithsonian and his former directorship of the Autry, Gray spent 25 years in commercial banking and was the executive vice president of First Interstate Bank of California (1987–1996). He has also worked with Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C.

Gray presents the 30th annual C. Ruth and Calvin P. Horn Lecture in Western History. The C. Ruth and Calvin P. Horn Lecture Series makes a singularly invaluable contribution—it enriches students, faculty and the community. Since its creation in 1985, this distinguished lecture series has brought to our community leading scholars who interpret the West in ways that both enlighten and entertain. This endowed lecture series was established as the “Calvin Horn Lecture on Western History and Culture” in the fall of 1985 with the purpose of honoring the memory of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and to support the study of history, a passion of both Mr. and Mrs. Horn.

This endowed lecture series—the only endowed lecture series in the Department of History at UNM—was originally organized by the University of New Mexico Press and honors Calvin and Ruth Horn’s passion for American Western history. The Center for the Southwest now hosts the event. To contribute to the series, visit the donation page. 

VIsit the Center for the Southwest for more about the series or other sponsored events.