Patty Limerick is the Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she is also a professor of environmental studies and history. In addition, Limerick was named to serve as the new Colorado State Historian and appointed to the National Endowment for the Humanities advisory board called The National Council on the Humanities. In 2025, she was nominated by President Barack Obama and was confirmed by the United States Senate in November of 2015. She is the author of Desert Passages, The Legacy of Conquest, Something in the Soil, and A Ditch in Time. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the Hazel Barnes Prize, she has served as president of the American Studies Association, the Western History Association, the Society of American Historians, and the Organization of American Historians, as well as the vice president for teaching of the American Historical Association.