Cathy Gorn

Dr. Cathy Gorn is the executive director of National History Day.

Dr. Gorn joined National History Day in 1982 when the organization was still based in Cleveland, Ohio, and was in its infancy as a national endeavor. Dr. Gorn has held positions of increasing responsibility within the organization. As a member of a small core national office staff, her efforts have fundamentally shaped the evolution of National History Day from a series of contests to a full-fledged, highly acclaimed international academic program.

Dr. Gorn received her B.A. in English from Kent State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Case Western Reserve University. She has made numerous presentations on history education at forums for historians and teachers, including the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Historical Association, and the Organization of American Historians. Her publications on teaching history to young people have appeared in several professional journals. In addition, Dr. Gorn has contributed to and served as editor for more than 40 curriculum guides and projects for National History Day.

Dr. Gorn has directed nearly forty national institutes for teachers and students of history and social studies, including institutes on: “Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom” and “Global and Multi-Cultural Perspectives on the Columbian Voyage and Its Legacies.” Dr. Gorn currently serves on the White House Historical Association’s Education Committee and the National Capital Radio & Television Museum Board of Trustees. She served two terms on the Education Advisory Committee for the First Freedom Center, the Education Committee of the American Bar Association, and the Presidential Advisors for the National World War II Museum, and served on the Board of Directors of the White House Historical Association from 2000 – 2020.

In 2011, National History Day received the President’s Medal for the Humanities from President Obama.