The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture


The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture was founded in November 1980 by Drs. Donald Cowan, Louise Cowan, James Hillman, Robert Sardello, Joanne Stroud, and Gail Thomas, former colleagues at the University of Dallas.


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 mission through events, conferences, and general courses of study for our community, through professional programs for educators, and through publications.


The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture exists to care for the actual things of the urban world. In some instances, these things are visible—education, architecture, medicine, art, technology, and money. Equally important are the invisible forms within which life takes place and has meaning—friendship, the soul, taste, imagination, community, intellectual life, ritual, and leadership.

Through its courses of study, public seminars, publications, conferences, and civic involvement, the Dallas Institute brings thought, imagination, language, and sensibility to bear on the convergence between the visible shaping of the world and the permanent values necessary for the crafting of culture.

Meet The Founders of

The Dallas Institute

Dr. Donald Cowan
Dr. Louise Cowan
Dr. James Hillman
Dr. Robert Sardello
Dr. Joanne Stroud
Dr. Gail Thomas


"I can see Dallas–just at the moment when one senses the loss of American greatness—giving form to an American renaissance…”

-Louise Cowan, “Without Utopianism or Nostalgia,” Imagining Dallas. Dallas Institute Press. 1982

"Now is the time to build a better culture!"

-Ron Wommack at the Humanities & the City: "Let's Make a City!" program on September 21, 2023