Faculty members Akhil Amar, Charles Hill, and Jonathan Holloway were presented Howard R. Lamar Faculty Awards for Service to Alumni on April 28 at a luncheon hosted by the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA).
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.
Mary E. Miller ’81 Ph.D., Sterling Professor of the History of Art and one of last year’s Lamar Award recipients spoke at the ceremony. Rahul Prasad ’84 Ph.D., chair of the AYA Board of Governors, presented the awards.
First presented in 2014, the awards 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, and John Lewis Gaddis and Miller in 2016.
The citations for Amar, Hill, and Holloway follow:
Akhil Reed Amar ’80, ’84 J.D
Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science
You have been described as a prolific and gifted teacher; a professor who combines world-class scholarship with compelling public service; a speaker who balances academic sophistication with the common touch; and the epitome of a Yalie. Certainly, few have engaged with their material and the wider world to the depth that you have. From our campus to the chambers of the Supreme Court, from the halls of Congress to the studio sets of Hollywood, your work continues to influence not only the minds and lives of your students, but also how the world thinks about America, and how America thinks about itself.
You are as renowned around campus for the quality of your teaching as you are for the depth of your thinking on history and the U.S. Constitution. You joined the Yale faculty in 1985 at the age of 26, after spending a year clerking for Justice Stephen Breyer on the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The university named you a Sterling Professor of Law in 2008, the same year you received the DeVane medal, Yale’s highest award for teaching. Your undergraduate course on Constitutional Law remains one of Yale College’s most popular classes, and alumni are eager to pack the talks and lectures you give.
In service to alumni, you have been tireless in speaking to Yale Clubs around the country, visiting 26 since 2006 alone. You have spoken at eight Yale College reunions and the 2016 Yale for Life program. Of your teaching, one alumni participant wrote that you were “always the last one to leave, engrossed in conversation with alumni that delighted all.” And we are privileged to have such audiences with you, for you are an in-demand public intellectual, with your work appearing in a panoply of newspapers, online forums, and television shows, to say nothing of your many bestselling books and your repeated invitations to speak at colleges and universities around the world. Your work has been cited by the Supreme Court more than 30 times, and you have been called before Congress to testify on matters of great import.
You are unflagging in your devotion to Yale and her alumni, helping us to understand the history of the law we inherit and the responsibility we have to pass it on to our descendants. It is with profound gratitude that the AYA presents you with the Howard R. Lamar Faculty Award in recognition for the insight, influence, and original thinking that you have shared with all of us.
The Brady-Johnson Distinguished Fellow in Grand Strategy, lecturer in International Studies at Yale University
The measure of a Yale faculty member is often gauged by the impact that professor can have on his students. One of yours, Molly Worthen ’03, ’11 Ph. D., was so impressed with your teaching that she became your biographer. She described you with these words: “The force of mind and power of expression that propelled him through the ranks of the Foreign Service have made Professor Hill one of the most effective and provocative instructors at Yale University.”
To this we would add the considered opinion of colleagues, alumni, and friends who regard your name as a byword for service and dedication. Before you came to Yale, you had a full career as a Foreign Service officer and diplomat, serving America with distinction in places as far-flung as Hong Kong, Switzerland, Vietnam, China, and Israel. At Yale, you are legendary for your breadth of knowledge, your grasp of history, and your understanding of global politics. You have generously shared your wisdom and experience not only with students, but also with Yale alumni throughout the United States and across the globe; over the years, you have visited 24 Yale Clubs and made three educational travel trips with the AYA.
As Yale has become a more global university, you have been instrumental in teaching our students to think globally, and you have volunteered your time to help our alumni do so as well. From you, students and alumni have learned that ancient writings, like those of Thucydides and Plutarch, can tell us as much about the world as the latest front-page headlines. They have also learned that a comprehensive approach can prepare them to achieve large ends with limited means — an insight you shared as a founder of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy.
In recognition of your exemplary service, impact on the students of Yale, and your engagement with alumni, the Association of Yale Alumni gratefully presents to you the Howard R. Lamar Faculty Award.
Jonathan Holloway ’95 Ph.D.
Dean of Yale College, the Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, and professor of history and of American studies
We honor you today with a mix of pride and sadness, at a time when your life’s journey is taking you away from Yale. Twice you have come to Yale from California, first from your undergraduate years at Stanford to conduct doctoral studies here, then later, in 1999, when you left a position at the University of California at San Diego to join our faculty. Now, poised to become the provost of Northwestern University in Illinois, you are leaving a university enriched by your influence and efforts, where both students and alumni have gained from your expertise and careful attention.
As a scholar of American history, you are a widely recognized authority in the African-American experience, with your second book, “Jim Crow Wisdom,”winning a National Book Award in 2014. As the head of Calhoun College, a post you assumed in 2005, you fulfilled a critical role with distinction, opening your office and your life to students who grew to love the man they affectionately referred to as “Dr. J.” You and your family became fixtures on campus, and for nine years, students in Calhoun were the envy of their peers in Yale College, with some even transferring to join the community you strengthened and sustained.
In 2014 you answered a greater call to serve as the Dean of Yale College, the first African-American to do so. In both Calhoun and in the dean’s office, you always reached out to alumni, speaking regularly at reunion events and visiting fifteen Yale Clubs around the country. You held receptions for returning ‘Hounies and officiated at the weddings of your former students amid your other campus duties. You have also been a tireless advocate on behalf of Yale’s development office, speaking at events to promote fundraising priorities, traveling to engage alumni support, welcoming the Sterling Fellows to your home each year during their annual gathering, and so much more. Even in the twilight of your time at Yale, you are still available to the alumni community, speaking at the upcoming 55th Reunion of the Class of 1962 this summer, and volunteering to address the Morning at Yale for both reunion weekends.
You have without question made Yale a better place. While the time has come for you to move on, the changes you have wrought and the spirit you have brought will remain on campus, so that a part of you will always be a part of Yale. In grateful appreciation for all you have done for Yale and her alumni, the AYA is proud to present you with this year’s Howard R. Lamar Faculty Award.