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2007 Bios

Carol T. Christ (PhD 1970, English) combines outstanding academic leadership and literary scholarship, in the tradition of Dean Cross himself. She is 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, and she has edited the Norton Anthology of English Literature, which sets the standard for the study of British literature. Immediately after graduation from Yale, she joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where she remained for over 30 years, rising through the ranks to become a full professor, Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences, Provost, and eventually Executive Vice Chancellor-Berkeley's highest academic officer. She is credited with sharpening the university's intellectual focus and building top-rated departments in the humanities and sciences. Christ was–and remains–a champion of women's issues and diversity. In 2002, she was named President of Smith College. During her first five years at Smith, Christ has launched an energetic program of outreach to alumnae and congressional and corporate leaders. She has launched major building projects, supervised a thorough curriculum review, and initiated long-range plans that will guide the future direction of the college for many years.

Paul Friedrich (1957 Ph.D., Anthropology), professor emeritus of anthropology, linguistics, and Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Chicago, is known for his extraordinary productivity, astonishing intellectual range, and deep devotion to generations of his students. In his career, spanning five decades, he has made major contributions to anthropology, linguistics, classics, and humanist thought in general. His work in ethno-poetics is considered groundbreaking and formative. His 11 books include four volumes of original poetry as well as The 'Gita' within 'Walden' (2004), Music in Russian Poetry (1998), The Princes of Naranja: An Essay in Anthrohistorical Method (1987), The Language of Parallax: Linguistic Relativism and Poetic Indeterminacy (1986), and others that range from studies of formal linguistics and Homeric Greek to political anthropology and 20th century philology. He has kept alive and inspired a deeply humanistic approach to the study of language that encompasses poetic, mythic, and psychological dimensions. As a token of highest academic honor, 30 of his former students dedicated a festschrift to him: Language, Culture and the Individual: A Tribute to Paul Friedrich. In addition to his breathtakingly original and eclectic scholarship, he has been a mentor, guide, and inspiration to countless students, from undergraduates to doctoral candidates.

Anne Walters Robertson (PhD 1984, Music), the Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Music at the University of Chicago, is a scholar of medieval and Renaissance music, an outstanding academic administrator, and a classical pianist. She is also an exemplary teacher and mentor. Her award-winning books, The Service Books of the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis: Images of Ritual and Music in the Middle Ages (1992) and Guillaume de Machaut and Reims: Context and Meaning in his Musical Works (2003), are brilliant interdisciplinary studies that illuminate layers of cultural history, into which context she sets the music and poetry of the period. Her articles on major topics for international reference works such as The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians have earned superb reviews in the U.S., the U.K., and Europe. Robertson joined the faculty at the University of Chicago upon graduation from Yale, and her career there has truly blossomed. After earning tenure, she chaired the Music Department for six years, was appointed to an endowed professorship, and more recently has been the Associate, and then Deputy Provost for Research and Education. As an administrator, she is focused, dedicated, patient, and generous. She has been on the Board of Directors of the American Musicological Society and on committees for the NEH and the American Council of Learned Societies.

John Suppe (1969 Ph.D., Geology and Geophysics) is one of the world's most influential and respected geologists. He is considered to be the leading scientist in the study of the fundamental forces that act to deform the upper portion of the Earth's crust, causing earthquakes. His research concentrates on plate tectonics and structural geology, explaining how rocks deform in the zones where plates subduct and collide. Practical outcomes of his research include to the location of petroleum resources and the assessment of earthquake hazards. His innovative method of imaging active faults has allowed him to test theories in real, rather than geologic time. He was the first to recognize the large-scale structure of the modern collision zone on the island of Taiwan-one of the most rapidly changing landscapes in the world. Taiwan was unknown to much of the geologic community until Suppe started publishing on the tectonic evolution of the area in the 1980s. Because of his pioneering work, that region is now one of the most intensely studied mountain belts in the world. Suppe is the Blair Professor of Geology at Princeton, where he has been on the faculty since 1971. He is author or editor of five books, including the widely used textbook, Principles of Structural Geology. Suppe was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1995.