President Bush Awards Influential Intellectuals
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, November 16, 2007
Yesterday, President George W. Bush awarded the prestigious National Humanities Medals for 2007 to Stephen H. Balch, scholar and advocate: Victor Davis Hanson, military historian and author; Roger Hertog, philanthropist; and Richard Pipes, author and historian, during a ceremony held in the White House East Room. In total, nine distinguished Americans and one cultural foundation were honored for their exemplary contributions to the humanities and were recognized for their scholarship, preservation efforts, philanthropy, and literary works. Other winners include Russell Freedman, author; Cynthia Ozick, author; Pauline L. Shultz, curator and author; Henry Leonard Snyder, scholar and innovator; Ruth R. Wisse, scholar and author; and the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. Immediately following the ceremony, the medalists, their families, and friends joined the President and First Lady Laura Bush for a reception held in their honor.
The National Humanities Medal, first awarded in 1989 as the Charles Frankel Prize, honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities.
The Humanities Medal is the signal award for the humanities. Over the last decade, including this year’s recipients, the National Humanities Medal has been awarded to only 98 individuals and 7 organizations. Among those recognized during this time period are: Bernard Lewis, Judith “Miss Manners” Martin, Madeleine L’Engle, Harvey Mansfield, and John Updike.
Medal recipients do not compete for this award but are specially selected by the President for their life-long achievements in their diverse areas of expertise. Citations and brief biographies for Stephen H. Balch, Victor Davis Hanson, Roger Hertog, and Richard Pipes can be found below. A detailed profile of each of the medalists is available at www.neh.gov.
Stephen H. Balch, scholar and advocate, is being recognized “for leadership and advocacy upholding the noblest traditions in higher education. His work on behalf of reasoned scholarship in a free society has made him a leading champion of excellence and reform at our nation's universities.” Balch, a former faculty member of John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, founded the National Association of Scholars (NAS), a membership organization of university and college faculty members devoted to strengthening teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences. He has served as its president since 1987. In addition to his work as President of the NAS, Balch is an author of several major studies of the American university curriculum including, The Dissolution of General Education: 1914-1993 and Losing the Big Picture: The Fragmentation of the English Major Since 1964.
Victor Davis Hanson, military historian and author, is being recognized “for scholarship on our civilization’s past and present. He has cultivated the fields of history and brought forth an abundant harvest of wisdom for our times.” Hanson is the author of hundreds of articles, book reviews, scholarly papers, and newspaper editorials on matters ranging from Greek, agrarian and military history to foreign affairs, domestic politics, and contemporary culture. Additionally, he has written or edited 16 books. His newest book, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, was published by Random House in October 2005 and named one of the New York Times Notable 100 Books of 2006. Currently, Hanson is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor emeritus at California University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where each fall he teaches courses in military history and classical culture.
Roger Hertog, philanthropist, is being recognized “for enlightened philanthropy on behalf of the humanities. His wisdom and generosity have rejuvenated institutions that are keepers of American memory.” Hertog is one of the founders of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Inc., and served as the firm’s President until its combination with Alliance Capital Management in October 2000. He currently is Vice-Chairman Emeritus of AllianceBernstein L.P. A graduate of City College of New York, he is the Chairman of the New-York Historical Society, Chairman Emeritus of The Manhattan Institute, a trustee of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, The New York Public Library, The New York Philharmonic, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and Chairman of The New York Sun.
Richard Pipes, author and historian, is being recognized “for peerless scholarship on Russia and Eastern Europe and for a life in service to freedom’s cause. He has shaped and sharpened our understanding of the eternal contest of liberty and tyranny.” Pipes is an internationally renowned historian of Russia and the Soviet Union. Beginning with his 1954 book The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism, 1917-1923, he has focused on the endurance of Russia’s autocratic traditions. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Russian Conservatism and Its Critics, Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger, Russia under the Old Regime and The Russian Revolution. During the Cold War era, Pipes was Chairman of the Central Intelligence Agency’s “Team B” which was established to review strategic intelligence estimates and he served as an advisor to President Reagan on Soviet and Eastern European affairs. Currently, Pipes is Baird Professor of History Emeritus at Harvard University where he has been a professor of Russian history for nearly forty years.
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