Two University of Chicago scholars, David Bevington and Martha Nussbaum, received the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal from Harvard University at the school's commencement exercises in May.
Harvard created the award in 1989 to honor the 100th anniversary of the founding of Harvard's graduate school. The medal recognizes "contributions to society as they have emerged from one's graduate education at Harvard."
Bevington, the Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, received his AB (1952) and PhD (1959) in English from Harvard. Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics in the Law School, Philosophy, and the Divinity School, received her PhD in classical philology in 1975.
The two other recipients of Harvard's award this year were Stephen Fischer-Galati, a professor emeritus of East European history and civilization at the University of Colorado, and Nobel-winning economist Eric Maskin from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.
Bevington said he was "overwhelmed" to receive the award. He added that it has special meaning because he spent "10 wonderful formative years" as a student and instructor at Harvard.
"This came as a bolt out of the blue," said Bevington, whose most recent book, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, is Murder Most Foul: The History of 'Hamlet.'
"Since the GSAS medal is awarded to only four candidates a year, I find myself in select company," Bevington said.
Nussbaum said the medal ceremony was "a splendid event, largely because of the skillful leadership of Allan Brandt, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, whose talented staff prepared insightful and beautifully written tributes to each winner.I was delighted to be hosted by a fine group of friends from Classics, Philosophy, and Law."
Other previous Centennial Medal recipients from the University of Chicago faculty include Hanna Gray, President Emerita; Leo Kadanoff, the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics and the College; and Stuart Rice, the Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the James Franck Institute and Chemistry, are previous Centennial Medal recipients. Harvard has given the award to many other notable alumni, including Margaret Atwood, David Woodley Packard and Susan Sontag, AB'51.