Gaddis and Miller receive Lamar Awards for outstanding service to Yale alumni

Yale professors John Lewis Gaddis and Mary E. Miller were presented Howard R. Lamar Awards for Service to Alumni on April 29 at a luncheon hosted by the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA).

The awards, first presented in 2014, are named for Lamar, the 21st president of the university and Sterling Professor Emeritus of History, who was one of the inaugural recipients, along with professors Marie Borroff, Donald Kagan, and Vincent Scully Jr. Professors Laurie Santos and Paul Bracken received the awards in 2015.

Presented by the AYA Board of Governors, the awards celebrate the contributions faculty make to alumni programs and honor those who have demonstrated exemplary leadership for alumni relations by the ways in which, through their scholarship and activities, they have rendered service to the Yale family worldwide.

The citations for Gaddis and Miller read:

John Lewis Gaddis

Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History

The New York Times has hailed you as the “Dean of the Cold War Historians.” You have been recognized by the Pulitzer Prize Committee, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the  President of the United States. But Yale alumni know you first and foremost as an engaging teacher and enthusiastic supporter of their activities around the world.

Every year, scores of students apply for a seat in the “Grand Strategy” seminar, which you co-founded in 2000 and still co-teach. Bringing in world leaders and intellectuals, the seminar prepares Yale students to think globally and strategically about urgent problems. This mindset comes naturally to you, after decades closely scrutinizing the interplay of world events. Your biography of the American statesman George Kennan is the seminal work on this influential diplomat and political scientist, and you have explored the facets of Cold War containment and strategy throughout your career. As a teacher you are highly praised, having won Yale Phi Beta Kappa’s DeVane Medal for undergraduate teaching in 2003.

You have been generous, too, in sharing your expertise with Yale alumni. Since your arrival at Yale in 1997, you have taken nine trips around the world with alumni groups, from the wilds of Alaska to the trans-Siberian railway. On more than 40 occasions, you have introduced alumni groups to the “Grand Strategy” curriculum you helped devise. You are an in-demand lecturer at reunion events and Yale Clubs across the country, and alumni everywhere appreciate how you have given back to Yale. You make them feel proud of their alma mater.

For your teaching, leadership, and willingness to reach out to Yale alumni, the Association of Yale Alumni gratefully presents to you the Howard R. Lamar Faculty Award.

Mary E.  Miller ’81 Ph.D.

Sterling Professor of History of Art

Imagine a room-sized mural depicting scenes of your life at Yale — teaching a class in the Rossi Foundation Gallery, poring over a rare pre-Columbian map in the Beinecke, hosting a master’s tea at Saybrook College, or setting policy in the dean’s office at SSS. Such a work, or even a scaled-down yet vivid reproduction, might fall short in capturing all that you mean to Yale.

Since graduating with your Ph.D. from Yale in 1981 and joining the faculty that same year, you have been a tireless citizen of our university, teaching highly sought-after courses and serving in many leadership roles: director of graduate studies in Archeology Studies, chair of the Council on Latin American Studies, chair of the Department of History of Art, and adviser to the Women Faculty Forum. You were master of Saybrook College, and later the first female dean of Yale College.

Through it all, you have remained committed to your fellow alumni, leading Yale Educational Travel programs to Mexico across three decades and speaking to Yale College alumni at many reunions. You have visited Yale clubs across the country, in Houston, Sacramento, southern Arizona, Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Greenwich, Chicago, New Haven, and more. In 2011, along with Linda Lorimer, you created Yale for Life, an on-campus summer learning program. Now a mainstay of the AYA’s alumni engagement, Yale for Life is in its sixth year and thriving; both courses for this summer quickly reached full enrollment and have a waiting list.

Equally important are all the individual touches that have won you a devoted following across the Yale community: conversations with concerned alumni (many of whom are also parents), maintaining wonderful relationships with Yale donors around the globe, handwritten notes, timely emails, and your warm presence at campus gatherings, large and small.

Through your work and scholarship, you have reached back in time to make the ancient Americas come alive. Through your teaching and generous spirit, you ensure that alumni will carry the best of Yale into the future. As a measure of our thanks, the AYA gratefully presents to you the Howard R. Lamar Faculty Award.