How do you like them apples?

Historian and Professor Emeritus of History Gordon Wood has been selected by President Obama to receive the National Humanities Medal.  In a ceremony at the White House today, the president will present the award to Wood and other individuals who have “deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities.”

We’re mostly excited because this is the second time that Professor Wood has been elevated to the national stage for his contribution to the humanities.  The first was in 1997, when Wood made his feature film debut…as an obscure reference in the Oscar winning movie Good Will Hunting. Two awesome things come together in this classic scene: Matt Damon name-dropping a Brown professor and a Harvard grad student being knocked down a couple of pegs:

The Hef’s approval: a crowning achievement

Brown’s very own economics professor a.k.a. zen-master Glenn Loury had the distinct privilege of being named in Playboy’s list of the “20 most influential and imaginative” college professors.  In the October edition of everyone’s favorite porn magazine tasteful weekend news mag, Loury is listed among other notable professors for his status as a “public provocateur.”  After a career of excellence and continual recognition, we’re glad that Professor Loury has finally received the highest honor of all: approval from the editors of Playboy.

Prof. Chinua Achebe speaks to NYT

Courtesy Justin Ide / Harvard News Office

World-renowned Brown Professor of Africana Studies Chinua Achebe did an interview with the New York Times that ran earlier this week. Here are a few highlights:

Interviewer: As a professor at Brown University, in Providence, R.I., you yourself live in exile, as do many other Nigerian writers, including the playwright Wole Soyinka and the young novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Achebe: If you were in Nigeria and had cause to go to a hospital or to see a doctor, you would then immediately understand why so many people are abroad.

Interviewer: You’ve been wheelchair-bound since 1990, as a result of a car accident that left you paralyzed from the waist down.
Achebe: Yes. I was in Nigeria when the accident happened. I was flown to England for treatment. They tried to put me together, then they recommended that I go to America for a follow-up, and that’s why I came to America.

Interviewer: How old are you now?
Achebe: I’m approaching 80. I don’t care about age very much. I think back to the old people I knew when I was growing up, and they always seemed larger than life.

Interviewer: What do you consider the most important thing about yourself?
Achebe: Oh, the most important thing about myself is that my life has been full of changes. Therefore, when I observe the world, I don’t expect to see it just like I was seeing the fellow who lives in the next room. There is this complexity which seems to me to be part of the meaning of existence and everything we value.