Notes and Comments

The Catholic Historical Review, January 2011 | Go to article overview

Notes and Comments


Announcement of ACHA Awards for Scholarship, Service, and Teaching and ACHA Graduate Fellowships

In 2010, the Executive Council of the American Catholic Historical Association (ACHA) approved the creation of honorary awards to recognize the service of distinguished members and to acknowledge significant contributions to the field of Catholic history. Nominations and supporting data came from the membership and were evaluated by the ACHA president, vicepresident, and executive secretary. We are pleased to confer these awards on the following individuals and institutions.

Lifetime Distinguished Scholarship

This award is bestowed on the scholar, who, in the view of the nominators, has made a significant impact on the understanding of Catholic history during a long career. The award is not for one book or any single piece of scholarship, but rather for a sustained series of contributions that have fundamentally animated the research of others and also have significance in their own right.

The first award goes to Frank J. Coppa, recently retired from St. John's University, New York. Coppa is a longtime ACHA member and a frequent contributor to its meetings as both presenter and commentator. He is distinguished for his work on the modern papacy, including his role as an early researcher of the papers of Blessed Pope Pius IX.

Service to Catholic Studies

This award acknowledges the exceptional contributions of those who promote study and research of the history of Catholicism broadly conceived, apart from teaching and publication.The term service may include any and all of the following areas, but is not restricted to these elements: service to the ACHA, archival management, museum displays and other forms of public history, and media.

The honoree this year is the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for its sponsorship of the exhibition "Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America," which opened at the Smithsonian in 2009 and is currently traveling around the country. Its Web site sums up the subject of the exhibition: "'Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America' reveals the mystery behind a small group of independent American women who helped to shape the nation's social and cultural landscape." This award honors this magnificent display that weaves the history of women religious into the larger narrative of American life and also affirms the many women religious who have played such an important role in the ACHA through their scholarship and service.

Excellence in Teaching

This award is given to a college or university professor who has demonstrated high commitment to teaching beyond the expected requirements of his or her position and, through his or her influence and skill, has promoted Catholic studies from one generation of scholars to another. The ACHA affirms, through this award, the work of creative and effective teaching in promoting Catholic history as an attractive career field for younger scholars.

This year, the award is given to Kenneth Pennington, Kelly-Quinn Professor of Ecclesiastical History and professor of law at The Catholic University of America. Pennington's vitality in the classroom has been the inspiration of numerous students, who discover to their great joy that church history can be interesting. At the same time, he is a prolific scholar- an author or editor of books and more than seventy articles. His teaching scores and his student evaluations are, in the words of one colleague, "off the charts." Pennington's positive influence on a generation of students will no doubt attract many to the field of Catholic history.

Presidential Graduate Fellowship

In 2010, the Executive Council approved the creation of a fund to assist graduate students in traveling to the ACHA annual or spring meetings to present papers. Applicants must be members of the ACHA, have papers accepted at the conference they wish to attend, and provide documentary evidence of their background and a letter of recommendation from a faculty member-preferably their dissertation director.

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