May 29, 1997
Vol. 16, No. 18

current issue
archive / search

    Students No. 1 in Newcombe fellowships

    Chicago students are first in the nation in the number of Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships received this year. Of 35 winners, five Newcombe fellowships went to Chicago students, tying with Harvard for the No. 1 spot. Yale received two, and Stanford and Princeton each received one.

    The Newcombe fellowships are awarded to graduate students in the final stages of writing doctoral dissertations on topics of ethical or religious values. The winners of the 1997 competition were chosen from 486 applicants at 97 graduate schools in the United States.

    The Chicago fellowships went to John Bate, Paul Cefalu, Gregory Kneidel, Eric Kramer and Rupert Stasch.

    Three of the winners -- Bate, Kramer and Stasch -- are graduate students in Anthropology.

    "These awards are testimony to the continuing creativity of our students and the high standards of their research," said Jean Comaroff, the Bernard E. and Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor and Chairman of Anthropology. "The work of anthropology remains relevant to the late 20th-century world. Our students look very directly at issues such as religion and moral systems, which are enduringly significant to society at large.

    "I think these awards also are part of an unusually good year for us," Comaroff added, "Five Anthropology graduates have received National Science Foundation Fellowships as well."

    The other two winners, Paul Cefalu and Gregory Kneidel, are Ph.D. candidates in English Language & Literature. Both are writing dissertations related to early modern English literature.

    "The English Department, and the Renaissance group in particular, is delighted that two of our students have received Newcombes," said Richard Strier, the Frank L. Sulzberger Professor of Civilizations in the College, who is involved with Kneidel's and Cefalu's dissertations. "Both are extremely talented students doing work that combines historical scholarship with philosophical and ethical inquiry."

    Each Newcombe recipient receives a stipend of $14,000. As of autumn 1996, of the 659 scholars to receive Newcombe fellowships between 1981 and 1996, 80 percent had received their Ph.D.s and another 15.5 percent were still in graduate school; 75 percent were in academic employment.