Marty honored with Humanities MedalFour of 10 recipients associated with University Martin Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor in the Divinity School, received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton in a White House ceremony Sept. 29. The internationally renowned theologian was one of 10 honorees, four of whom are affiliated with the University of Chicago.
The others are Richard Franke, retired Chairman and CEO of John Nuveen and Company Inc. and a University Trustee; internationally honored literary scholar and University alumnus Luis Leal; and noted author and broadcaster Studs Terkel, also an alumnus of Chicago.
The National Humanities Medal is given for enriching Americans' understanding of and access to the humanities. At the ceremony, President Clinton also honored the 10 recipients of the National Medal of the Arts.
Marty is one of America's foremost theologians and religious historians.
"No one has done more to help us understand the importance of religion in public life than Martin Marty," said President Sonnenschein. "Through his dozens of books, his leadership of the Fundamentalism and Public Religion projects, his editorship of leading religious magazines, authorship of the American Religion book series and his brilliant teaching of students at the University of Chicago, Marty has enhanced our understanding of religion and helped us all to live more richly and wisely in our multi-religious society."
The author of 50 books, Marty is also the director of the Public Religion Project and is senior editor of both the weekly Christian Century and the biweekly newsletter Context. His most recent book is Under God, Indivisible, Volume III of his Modern American Religion series published by the Press.
Marty was Project Director for the recently completed five-year Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which studied comparative fundamentalist religious movements around the world. He is a fellow of the two oldest scholarly societies of the United States, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which awarded him its medal in 1995, and the American Philosophical Society.
He is past president of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History and the American Catholic Historical Association. In 1972, he won the National Book Award for Righteous Empire. Marty received his Ph.D. from the University in 1956.
Medal recipient Franke has been a Trustee of the University since 1987 and serves on its Executive Committee, Investment Committee, Campus Planning & Neighborhood Committee and as chair of the Visiting Committee to the Division of the Humanities. "Rich Franke has set new standards of corporate leadership in bringing the richness and beauty of the humanities to Chicagoans of all ages and backgrounds," Sonnenschein said. "It was Rich who conceived of the Chicago Humanities Festival, and it was he who helped develop it over the last eight years into one of the nation's leading public festivals of high and popular culture. He has shared his vision and enthusiasm by serving as a trustee of the University of Chicago, Yale University, the Orchestral Association, WTTW, the Newberry Library and the Lyric Opera, and we are all richer for it."
Leal graduated from the University with his A.M. in 1941 and his Ph.D. in 1950 and later taught at the University for several years as a lecturer in Spanish. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his scholarly studies of Mexican and Latin American literature and culture, including the 1988 Scholar of the Year award from the National Association for Chicano Studies and the 1991 Aztec Eagle award, the highest honor offered by the Mexican government to non-Mexican citizens.
He has written 16 books, including A Brief History of the Mexican Short Story; Decade of Chicano Literature, 1970-1979; and No Longer Voiceless.
Terkel graduated from the College with a bachelor's degree in 1932 and received his J.D. in 1934. A nationally known journalist, lecturer and author, he has written 11 books, including Working (1974), Race (1992), and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good War (1985).
Terkel has for more than 40 years been heard on Chicago's fine arts station, WFMT, where each weekday evening he hosts the Peabody Award-winning "The Studs Terkel Show." Among his many other honors, he was elected earlier this year to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.