May 23, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 16

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    Norman Maclean awards go to Franklin, Redfield

    John Hope Franklin

    Named for Professor Norman Maclean (Ph.D., ’40), who taught English Language & Literature at Chicago for 40 years, the Norman Maclean Awards were established by the Alumni Association in 1997. Their purpose is to recognize emeritus or very senior faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to teaching and to the experience of student life on campus.

    This year’s awards will be given to John Hope Franklin, the John Matthews Manley Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in History, and James Redfield (A.B. ’54, Ph.D. ’61), the Edward Olson Distinguished Service Professor in Classical Languages & Literature and the College.

    Both professors will be honored at the Alumni Assembly during Reunion Weekend, Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2.

    James Redfield

    Franklin was an active member of the University faculty from 1964 to 1982 and served as Chairman of the History Department for three years.

    After retiring from the University, Franklin went on to teach at Duke University, where he now is the James B. Duke professor emeritus in history.

    Franklin’s research has focused on the history of the American South. His commitment to maintaining a scholarly perspective has allowed him to make a powerful contribution outside of the academic world, most recently as chairman of former President Clinton’s Initiative on Race.

    As a teacher, Franklin was famous for his acts of unsolicited generosity. He regularly championed his students for scholarships, jobs and publishing contracts and kept in close contact long after they left his classroom.

    Redfield has had a lifetime relationship with the University, first as the grandson and son of highly regarded professors, then as a graduate of the Laboratory Schools and as an early entrant and graduate of the College. After graduate study at Oxford University, he retuned to the University as a faculty member.

    Redfield’s classical scholarship has fundamentally reshaped the critical discourse on epic poetry, and his book Nature and Culture in the Iliad: The Tragedy of Hector has been translated into French, Spanish and Modern Greek.

    One former student, now a professor in classics at Yale University, wrote of Redfield: “Ever since I started to teach in 1970, when I feel the greatest confidence that a class or tutorial has gone well, it is because I have managed to recreate a small crumb of the atmosphere of Redfield’s teaching.”

    Although Redfield is one of the few faculty members to receive two Quantrell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, his commitment to teaching extends well beyond the University classroom.

    For the past 10 years, he has taught a small group of adults who gather twice monthly to discuss the classics.

    He also has taught National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminars for university and high school teachers and has worked with Chicago high school teachers in and out of the classroom.