Published September 30, 2021

Charlottesville, VA—Virginia Humanities welcomes four new members to their Board of Directors: Dr. Jill Bussey Harris of Richmond, Larissa Smith of Farmville, Linda Seligmann of Fairfax, and Tucker Lemon of Roanoke. They join a board of twenty-six distinguished Virginia residents.

“I am thrilled to welcome these new Board members to Virginia Humanities,” said Matthew Gibson, Virginia Humanities’ executive director. “They are joining us at an exciting time. We’ve recently opened a new public humanities center in Charlottesville that unites our staff under one roof for the first time in decades, we’re carefully beginning to resume in-person programming after more than a year-long break, and we are preparing to draft a new strategic plan that will shape the future of the organization and how we serve all Virginians. The different skillsets and passions that each new member brings to the Board will have a lasting impact on our work.”

Each board member serves a three-year term that can be renewed one time. Six members in total are appointed by the Governor of Virginia. Linda Seligmann is the Governor’s newest appointee. The rest of the board is elected by sitting members. The Virginia Humanities Board meets four times each year. Recently, board meetings have been held virtually, but meetings usually take place in Charlottesville at Virginia Humanities’ office. For a complete list of board members visit VirginiaHumanities.org/board.

New Board Members

Dr. Jill Bussey Harris – Richmond, VA

Dr. Jill Bussey Harris – Photo courtesy of Richmond Free Press

Jill Bussey Harris was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Fisk University. In 1987, she graduated from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. After graduation, Dr. Bussey practiced dentistry in Chicago, Illinois before relocating to Richmond. Dr. Bussey became the first full-time African American female Assistant Professor at VCU/MCV School of Dentistry in 1989. Dr. Bussey remained a professor at VCU until 1992, when she resigned to start her own private practice. Dr. Bussey has served on several boards and has always had a passion for philanthropic programs. She served as the Fairy Godmother for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Virginia in 2016 and served as president for The Links Incorporated, Richmond (VA) Chapter from 2013-2017. Currently, she is the Co-Chair for the Health and Human Services Eastern Area of The Links, Incorporated. She was awarded the University of Louisville School of Dentistry Alumni Fellow Award in 2013. Dr. Bussey and her husband established the Dr. Monroe E. Harris, Jr and Dr. Jill Bussey Harris Scholarship for African American students at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Most recently they are the Co-Chairs of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Capital Campaign.

Larissa Smith – Farmville, VA

Larissa Smith

Larissa M. Smith is Longwood University’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. In this role, she is chief academic officer and is responsible for Longwood’s five academic colleges, Greenwood Library, academic programs, and outreach centers. As a professor of history, she specializes in 20th-century African American history, history of the U.S. South, and Virginia history. She serves as university liaison to the Moton Museum, Virginia’s only civil rights National Historical Landmark, located in Farmville. She also was the lead historical consultant for the museum’s award-winning exhibit “The Moton School Story: Children of Courage,” which opened in April 2013, and authored the exhibit guide. Prior to becoming Provost, Dr. Smith served as Associate Provost for Outreach and Initiatives where she worked closely with the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, the Moton Museum, and Hull Springs. From 2014-2016, she served as vice-chair of the Academic Core Curriculum Committee and led the development of Longwood’s new general education curriculum, called Civitae.

Linda Seligmann – Fairfax, VA

Linda Seligmann

Linda J. Seligmann is professor emeritus of anthropology at George Mason University. An expert on Latin America, she has done research in the Andean region for over forty years and also spent five years on a project on transnational and trans-racial adoption and changing faces of American families. She is the author of six books and numerous articles; served as Editor of The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology; and has published featured pieces in The Washington Post and Pacifica News. She appeared on The Diane Rehm Show (NPR) and With Good Reason (Virginia Humanities). She has taught a wide range of courses, including “Food and Culture,” “Anthropology and History,” “Peoples and Cultures of Latin America,” and “Neighborhood, Culture, Identity,” focused on the history, stories, and lives of immigrants to the U.S.

W. Tucker Lemon – Roanoke, VA

W. Tucker Lemon

W. Tucker Lemon, a native of Roanoke, Virginia, received his BA in Economics from Princeton University and his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. He practiced corporate and entertainment law for twelve years in Los Angeles before returning to Roanoke in 1998. An adamant supporter of local arts and culture, he currently serves on the Board of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (Chairman), the Board of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest (Past Chairman), and Virginia Humanities (Past Chairman). Past Trusteeships include the Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority (Chairman), the Historical Society of Western Virginia (President), the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra (President), Sons of the American Revolution (President) and Second Presbyterian Church.

About Virginia Humanities
Virginia Humanities is the state humanities council. We’re headquartered in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia, but we serve the entire state. We aim to share the stories of all Virginians—or, better yet, find ways for people to share their own stories. We want Virginians to connect with their history and culture and, in doing that, we hope we’ll all get to know each other a little better. Founded in 1974, we are one of fifty-six humanities councils created by Congress with money and support from the National Endowment for the Humanities to make the humanities available to all Americans. To learn more, visit VirginiaHumanities.org.

Our work brings people together and honors our shared humanity.