Mary Lefkowitz Awarded National Humanities Medal
Nov. 9, 2006
Mass. -- Mary Lefkowitz, a renowned classics
scholar and professor emerita of classical studies at Wellesley
College, has been presented the National Humanities Medal by
President George W. Bush for her contributions to the humanities.
Lefkowitz received the award at a White House ceremony attended
by the President, First Lady Laura Bush and nine other recipients.
to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities
Medal “honors individuals and organizations
whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities,
broadened citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve
and expand America's access to important humanities resources.”
Lefkowitz joined the Wellesley faculty in 1959 and was named the Andrew
W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities in 1979, a position she held until
her retirement in 2005. She is a prolific scholar and writer, whose
articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review,
The Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic and The New York
Review of Books.
Lefkowitz is well known for her work on women in antiquity, having
written Heroines and Hysterics (1981) and Women in Greek Myth (1986).
Women's Life in Greece and Rome, which she co-edited with Maureen
B. Fant (1982) is the standard source book in the field.
She is the author of Not Out of Africa (1996) and co-editor with
her Wellesley colleague, Guy MacLean Rogers, of Black Athena Revisited,
a collection of essays by various scholars (1996). Because they
deal with highly controversial theories about the origin of ancient
Greek civilization, both books have been widely reviewed and have
generated considerable discussion. While known widely for work
on women in antiquity, her most recent book, Greek Gods, Human
Lives, published in 2003, has received much critical acclaim for
its restoration of the role of the gods in ancient narratives.
A member of the Wellesley Class of 1957, Lefkowitz completed her
Ph.D. in Classical Philology at Radcliffe College in 1961.
She has been
awarded fellowships by the American Council of Learned Societies,
the National Endowment for the
Humanities and the Onassis
Foundation. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters
by Trinity College in 1996, which cited her "deep concern
for intellectual integrity." In 1999, she received an honorary
Doctorate in Philology by the University of Patras in Greece and,
in 2000, an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Grinnell
College. In 2004, she received a Radcliffe Graduate Society Medal.
information on the National Humanities Medal can be found on the
National Endowment’s website at http://www.neh.gov/news/archive/20061108.html.
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an
excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference
in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300
undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For
more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.