Christ Honored by Alma Mater
President Carol T. Christ
was one of four alumni of Yale University Graduate School
to be presented with the school’s
highest honor, the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, on October
9. The medal is presented each year by the school’s
Alumni Association to a small number of outstanding alumni
in recognition of their distinguished achievements in scholarship,
teaching, academic administration and public service.
Christ, who earned her
doctoral degree in academic administration and English
literature from the graduate school in 1970, was honored
in a series of events throughout the day. She gave an afternoon
talk on “Mapping a Career in the
Academy” and received the medal during an evening ceremony.
Christ became president
of Smith in 2002 following more than 30 years on the faculty
of the University of California-Berkeley, which culminated
in her post as executive vice chancellor, the school’s
highest academic position. She is the author of two books
on 19th-century and modernist poetry, The
Finer Optic: The Aesthetic of Particularity in Victorian
Poetry and Victorian and Modern Poetics.
Christ was joined in receiving the Wilbur Cross Medal by
Paul Friedrich, University of Chicago professor emeritus
of anthropology, linguistics and Slavic languages and literatures;
Anne Walters Robertson, the University of Chicago Claire
Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Music; and John
Suppe, the Princeton University Blair Professor of Geology.
Wilbur Cross, in whose
memory the honor is bestowed, was a distinguished scholar
in English literature, who excelled in the areas recognized
by the medal. He taught at the Sheffield Scientific School,
the precursor to Yale’s Graduate
School of Arts and Sciences, and served as dean during the
graduate school’s reorganization.
First presented in 1996,
the medal was annually awarded as part of the school’s
commencement activities until last year. The graduate school
and alumnae association presented the award this year in
October to allow the recipients to interact with students
and faculty as part of the presentation.