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Eric Foner (Doctor of Humane Letters)

Eric FonerJune 8, 2014

ERIC FONER, hailed as one of the most prolific and creative American historians of the past 20 years, you have deeply influenced the crafting of American history and our ability to engage with it. As noted in The Atlantic, "It's tough for a historian to earn the adoration of both academia and popular culture," yet this is precisely what you have achieved.

Citing your historian father as your "first great teacher," you describe how his lectures gave you an appreciation for how present concerns can be illuminated by the past. This passion flourished through your education, culminating with perhaps your last great teacher and mentor, Richard Hofstadter at Columbia University. Your father was surely proud when your own commitment to working with students earned you Columbia's prestigious Great Teacher Award.

In addition to being elected a fellow of both the American and British academies of arts and sciences you are only the second person to serve as president of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Society of American Historians.

As an author exploring the intersections of intellectual, political, and social history, one historian notes that you have "had an enormous influence on how other historians, as well as a good cut of the general reading public, have come to think about American history." Your most recent work, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History, is a shining example of this.

For your life's pursuit of bringing American history to life, and for making its enduring lessons relatable to your students and the larger public, Dartmouth College presents you the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

President Philip J. Hanlon

Last Updated: 6/8/14