Press Release

Veterans Book Group in Champaign Offers an Informal Opportunity to Share Experiences


Veterans Book Group in Champaign Offers an Informal Opportunity to Share Experiences 

CHICAGO, IL- January 13, 2015—  The arts and humanities create important opportunities to learn and start dialogues about the human experience, and this fall the literature of such authors as Ernest Hemingway, Bobbie Ann Mason and Phil Klay will spark conversations to help veterans share their experiences in a safe space.

The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC), Parkland College, and Crosspoint Human Services will host a reading-and-discussion group for veterans of all ages and degrees of military experience in Champaign in early 2015. “Standing Together: A Veterans Book Group” will meet on January 27, February 10, February 24, and March 10, all Tuesdays, from 5:30 to 7 PM in the Parkland College Student Union, Room U230 (in front of the Career Center).

Through discussions of selected readings related to the experiences of war or military life, the IHC seeks to create an informal setting for veterans to connect with one another, build relationships and share their experiences. The discussions will be facilitated by John Fundator and Jennifer Satterlee.  Fundator served in the U.S. Army, 1977-81, and the Illinois Army National Guard, 1981-98, and is a senior communications specialist with the University of Illinois Foundation.  Satterlee is a professor of humanities at Parkland College in Champaign. 

“The Illinois Humanities Council is privileged to offer veterans this opportunity to connect with each other through engagement with the arts and humanities,” commented Matt Meacham, coordinator of the program at the IHC.  “We hope the participants will relate the stories and ideas contained in the readings to their own and use them as a basis for reflection, conversation, and strengthening their sense of community with one another.”

Readings will include works from various eras, ranging from Stephen Crane’s Civil War-era short story, “The Veteran” to Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home,” a narrative of one young World War I veteran’s return to civilian life to recently published selections by Phil Klay, an Iraq War veteran whose writing reflects the wartime and post-war experiences of contemporary combat veterans.

Successful Veterans Book Group programs are already in progress in Springfield and Carbondale, Meacham noted.

The Veterans Book Group is produced in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council, Parkland College, and Crosspoint Human Services.  The National Endowment for the Humanities has generously provided funding for the Veterans Book Group program in conjunction with its initiative, Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War.  The initiative aims to promote understanding of the military experience and to support returning veterans.

Veterans who wish to be part of the group are asked to contact the Illinois Humanities Council’s Matt Meacham at or (312) 422-5589.

About the Illinois Humanities Council 

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with a mission to strengthen society by fueling inquiry and conversation about the ideas and works that shape our culture. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.