Morse College to welcome new master: Amy E. Hungerford

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Amy E. Hungerford will take up her role as Morse College master on July 1.

Amy E. Hungerford, professor of English and American studies and the current acting master of Calhoun College, has been named the next master of Morse College for a period of five years, beginning July 1.

President Richard C. Levin and Yale College Dean Mary Miller announced the appointment on March 27 in a joint letter to the Morse College community.

Joining Hungerford as associate master in Morse will be her husband, Peter Chemery, associate director of undergraduate admissions.

“Professor Hungerford has been a very active acting master, creating separate special events for different classes, participating enthusiastically in Calhoun intramurals, and hosting a variety of master’s teas, including one where she gathered David Baldacci, Jodi Picoult, and John Grisham in the same room,” noted Levin and Miller in their announcement.

“Meals also have been part of the Hungerford/Chemery ‘signature’ in Calhoun,” added the President and Dean, noting that “Morse students should have some exciting food treats next year!”

Hungerford began her teaching career at Yale in 1999. Her most recent book, “Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion Since 1960” (20/21 Series, Princeton University Press), was published in 2010 and was shortlisted in spring 2011 for the American Academy of Religion’s Award for Excellence in the Textual Study of Religion. She is now working on a new book titled “Literature Now: The Worlds of Indie Publishing,” about the artistic and social networks that thrive today through independent print and digital publishing ventures and the independent bookstores and book clubs that connect readers to new writing. Her article “McSweeney’s and the School of Life” will appear in a special issue of Contemporary Literature on the contemporary novel.

Hungerford is a regular contributor to The Yale Review, and she was one of the early, featured lecturers for Open Yale Courses, with “American Novel Since 1945,” a course she still teaches and that has lately featured visits from contemporary authors. Among other honors, Hungerford was awarded the Robert Frost Chair in the summer of 2011 by the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College for excellence in teaching, and the Poorvu Family Prize of Yale College for innovation and excellence in interdisciplinary teaching in spring 2005.

Citing Hungerford’s “constant and dedicated involvement,” Levin and Miller wrote: “Known for her sparkling wit and warm attention to students, Professor Hungerford helped countless undergraduates, especially freshmen, find their way to the right English section while serving as DUS of English; she has advised many senior essays and has helped others find an adviser; she is deeply engaged with mentoring, advising many Ph.D. students and running a dissertation workshop to discuss their work in 20th and 21st century literature.”

Hungerford has served often on the Junior Appointments Committee for the English department; is currently a member of the Executive Committee for American Studies; has chaired the Yale Course of Study committee; and served on both the Graduate School Faculty Advisory Committee and the Executive Board of the Whitney Humanities Center.

In the fall of 2011, she participated on the National Endowment for the Humanities grant advisory panel for documentary film projects. She is a founding member of Post45, a nationally based collective of scholars working in American literature and culture since 1945, a group that has had a major impact on the intellectual development of that field. She is the site editor of Post45’s website, and co-editor of its online scholarly journal, Post45 Peer Reviewed.

Hungerford and Chemery have two children — Clare, age 10, and Cyrus, age 8 — and may soon be adding a family dog. Their hobbies include hiking, golf, fly-fishing, gardening, music, and cooking.

Levin and Miller thanked the members of the search committee, which was chaired by Steven Girvin, deputy provost for science and technology and the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics & Applied Physics. Other members included Professors Margaret Clark, Toni Dorfman, and Carl Zimmer, and students Bryan Balvaneda ‘12, Angelica Calabrese ‘14, Kyle Eichner ‘12, Matthew Kubicki ‘14, Julian Reid ‘13, and Jessica Zhang ’13.

“At this time, the entire Morse community expresses great gratitude to Master Frank Keil and Associate Master Kristi Lockhart,” concluded Levin and Miller. “They have brought energy and warmth to Morse, and they have been terrific stewards of the college for the past 11 years, a period that included the complex renovation and the upheaval of moving out of and back into the college. … The Morse community hopes Master Keil and Associate Master Lockhart will come back to enjoy future events in the college.”

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