Williams College to Award Annual Bicentennial MedalsWilliamstown - Williams College President Morton Owen Schapiro will present six of the college's Bicentennial Medals during the college's annual Convocation ceremony Saturday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. in Chapin Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Established in 1993 on the occasion of the college's 200th anniversary, Bicentennial Medals honor members of the Williams community for distinguished achievement in any field of endeavor. The college awarded 23 Bicentennial Medals in 1993 and has added five to seven in each year since. This is the first year that the medals will be presented as part of Convocation.
This year's recipients are:
Bernard Bailyn, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
Edgar M. Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress
A. R. Gurney, Jr., playwright
Glenn D. Lowry, director of New York's Museum of Modern Art
Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, artist
Marisa E. Reddy Randazzo, threat assessment expert
Bernard Bailyn's time at Williams was cut short by World War II. He left in 1943 to serve in the army and received his diploma in 1945. He then earned his Ph.D. in history at Harvard, where he spent his whole career as one of the country's most influential historians. The author of a dozen books, he won his first Pulitzer Prize for "The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution" (1968), which shifted attention on the motivations of the revolution from economic to ideological.
His second Pulitzer was for "Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution" (1986). The book was based in significant part on the use of new computer technology to analyze a register in London's Public Record Office of every British resident who migrated to the colonies in the three years before the revolution. He complemented this statistical record with lyrical accounts of individual immigrants. He is also former president of the American Historical Association.
Edgar Bronfman, a member of the Williams Class of 1950, was the son of a poor Russian immigrant to Canada and eventually became head of the family business: The Seagram Company. Since 1981 he has also served as president of the World Jewish Congress and one of Jewry's most visible and effective statesmen. Under his leadership, the congress won freedom for Soviet Jews, protections for embattled Jewish communities in South America, and financial reparations from Swiss banks for money taken from Holocaust victims.
He also serves as chairman of the Board of Governors of Hillel, the world's largest campus Jewish organization and he helped found the group called "Israel Birthright," which enables young Jewish adults around the world to make their first trip to Israel. President Clinton appointed him chair of an advisory commission on Holocaust assets in the U.S., which recommended ways to pursue justice for elderly Holocaust survivors and their families and also awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
After graduating from Williams in 1952, A. R. Gurney served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and earned a master's degree from the Yale School of Drama. He has gone on to become one of the most prolific and produced playwrights in America. He has examined middle class WASP life both comically and poignantly in more than 40 plays, including "The Dining Room," "The Perfect Party," and "The Cocktail Hour," which are performed across the country and abroad. He has won a Drama Desk Award, a Rockefeller Award, and two Lucille Lortel Awards: one for outstanding play, "The Cocktail Hour," and one for outstanding body of work. In 2000, he won the Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award at the William Inge Theatre Festival and Conference.
Glenn Lowry grew up in Williamstown, graduated from Williams in 1976, and earned a Ph.D. in art history at Harvard. While a curator at the National Museum of Asian Art in Washington he oversaw the acquisition of a heralded collection of Persian and Indian painting and produced two catalogs on it. He directed the Art Gallery of Ontario from 1990 until moving to New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1995, where his major initiatives have included the design, building, and funding of the museum's new building. When it opened last year, it was praised as a spectacular new home for one of the world's greatest collections of modern art. And the public has lined up at its door ever since. A strong advocate of contemporary art, he also helped conceive and initiate MoMA's merger with P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center.
Inigo Manglano-Ovalle creates art in a variety of media, including painting, video, sculpture, and sound and their combination. His work, as described by one reviewer, combines "heady intellectualism with homeboy street smarts." He has had solo shows across the U.S. and in Europe and been exhibited on three continents, including at MoMA, The Guggenheim, and The Whitney. The MacArthur Foundation awarded him a "genius" grant. The New York Times called his hanging sculpture representing a digital analysis of a thunderstorm cloud "possibly the most beautiful object to be found in a contemporary art gallery in New York." After graduating from Williams in 1983, he earned an M.F.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and serves as associate professor of art at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Marisa Reddy Randazzo focuses on understanding and preventing violent behavior. Until recently, she served as chief research psychologist and research coordinator at the U.S. Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center. She directed all research on assessing threats of all kinds of violence, including assassinations, stalkings, school shootings, workplace shootings, and terrorism. She also translated research findings into training units for law enforcers and regularly led training sessions for local, state, and federal law enforcers, for agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, and for school and corporate security officials.
She briefed members of Congress, the Cabinet, and the White House. Her work is credited with preventing an uncountable number of violent attacks through early detection of homicidal and suicidal tendencies. Randazzo, who now works in private practice, graduated from Williams in 1989 and earned a Ph.D. in psychology at Princeton.