Henry Russel lecturer, awardees named for 2017


Linda K. Gregerson, an internationally acclaimed poet and scholar of Renaissance literature, has been selected as the 2017 Henry Russel Lecturer. It is one of the university’s highest honors for a senior member of its active faculty.

Gregerson is the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English and professor of English language and literature, LSA.

Linda Gregerson

She has published six lauded collections of poetry, and her work appears regularly in leading literary publications including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, Granta and Poetry. Gregerson also has been instrumental in making the Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts program at U-M one of the best in the world.

In addition, four faculty researchers will receive the Henry Russel Award, one of the highest honors the university bestows upon junior faculty. They are:

• Robin A. Beck, associate professor of anthropology and associate curator, Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, LSA.

• Ashley N. Gearhardt, assistant professor of psychology, LSA.

• Tung-Hui Hu, assistant professor of English language and literature, LSA.

• Sarah Veatch, assistant professor of biophysics and assistant professor of physics, LSA.

The honorees are selected for recommendation by the Russel Awards Faculty Advisory Committee. It is chaired by Carol A. Fierke, dean of the Rackham Graduate School.

The Henry Russel Lectureship is awarded each year to a U-M professor in recognition of exceptional achievements in research, scholarship or creative endeavors, and an outstanding record of teaching, mentoring and service.

Gregerson will deliver the Russel Lecture in the winter term of 2017.

In 2008, in recognition of her accomplishments and contributions to the university, Gregerson was appointed the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English. Her students prize her as an inspirational role model and supportive mentor who is engaging, rigorous and intellectually galvanizing.

Gregerson won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award in 2003 for her collection “Waterborne,” and in 2007 was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry for “Magnetic North.” In 1997, with the publication of her collection “The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep,” she was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Prize and The Poets’ Prize. Gregerson also has received awards for her scholarship on John Milton and Edmund Spenser, including the Isabel MacCaffrey Award.

She has received a Mellon Fellowship at the National Humanities Center, a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2002 she received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2014 she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016, she was named chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Robin Beck

Beck, who joined the faculty in 2006, is considered one of the best anthropological archaeologists of his generation. He is recognized as an innovative archaeologist and scholar of the transition of Native American societies of the eastern woodlands before and after the arrival of Europeans.

In 2006, he received the C.B. Moore Award for Excellence in Southeastern Archaeology, given to the most promising young archaeologist working in the U.S. southeast.

His impact as a scholar is evidenced by three books, including “Chiefdoms, Collapse, and Coalescence in the Early American South.” It is hailed as a classic by scholars in anthropology, history and Native American studies. Beck also is a hands-on teacher whose classroom can be the excavation trench, the field school dining hall or the museum lab.

Ashley Gearhardt

Gearhardt joined the faculty in 2012, and has achieved national impact with the quality of her research, and a reputation as a generous and inspirational teacher. She studies environmental risk factors that contribute to excess food consumption and disordered eating behaviors.

Through Gearhardt’s interdisciplinary research she has made significant contributions to understanding the cognitive, behavioral, environmental and neurobiological underpinnings of food addiction, obesity and disordered eating habits.

To understand the factors that contribute to the worldwide rise in body weight, her research extends to food policies that contribute to health disparities, including economic policies and marketing practices. Her research has won attention from The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, and NBC News.

Tung-Hui Hu

Hu joined the faculty in 2009 and has achieved distinction as a cutting-edge scholar of digital media, and as an acclaimed poet who teaches in the Zell Writers’ Program. He is a leading scholar in digital studies, which brings interdisciplinary approaches to the study of digital culture, media, cultural expression and information.

His book “A Prehistory of the Cloud” rethinks the contemporary digital environment. His multifaceted research has earned him appointments as a postdoctoral fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows and as visiting scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Hu’s poetry has appeared in literary publications and in three collections including, “Greenhouses, Lighthouses (poems).” He was awarded a yearlong fellowship for 2015-16 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Hu teaches freshman seminars, creative writing courses for undergraduates and graduates, and courses in new media.

Sarah Veatch

Veatch joined the faculty in 2010. Her research is opening new understandings of how the physical properties of lipid mixtures on the surface of mammalian cells and lipid-protein interactions influence biological processes. The goal is to develop deeper understanding that can open the way for new treatment strategies for diseases such as cancer.

She has 37 frequently cited articles in leading journals, establishing herself as a rising star in her field. Veatch’s research has earned a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, recognition by the National Academy of Sciences as a Kavli Fellow, and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship for early-career scientists of outstanding promise.

She also has revamped the undergraduate and graduate teaching laboratories in biophysics, supports undergraduate researchers in the summer months and brings Detroit area high school students to her department for daylong visits.

The Russel Award and the Henry Russel Lectureship were established in 1925 with a bequest from Henry Russel of Detroit. He received three degrees from U-M.


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