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Oct. 18, 2007

Jacques Barzun Honored with the Society of Columbia Graduates’
Annual Great Teacher Award in the Year of his 100th Birthday

Jacques Barzun
Jacques Barzun on the
cover of Time, 1956.

Photo courtesy of Time Magazine.

Jacques Barzun, University Professor and Provost Emeritus of Columbia University, will be honored on Thursday, October 18th, with the Society of Columbia Graduates’ 59th annual Great Teacher Award. Professor Barzun, who founded the field of cultural history, celebrates his 100th birthday in November.

The Award will be presented in absentia to Professor Barzun at a gala dinner co-hosted by the Society and Alan Brinkley, provost of Columbia University, and held in Columbia’s Low Library Rotunda.  A message from Professor Barzun will be read at the dinner.

Professor Jacques Martin Barzun was born in Grenoble, France, on November 30, 1907. He moved from Paris to New York City in 1920, graduated as valedictorian of the Columbia College Class of 1927, and received his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1932.

Professor Barzun taught as Seth Low Professor of History and in the course of his career served as dean of the Graduate School, dean of Faculties, and provost, and retired in 1975 as University Professor. He founded and championed the field of cultural history; with Lionel Trilling designed the humanities portion of Columbia’s famed core curriculum and held legendary seminars; and authored and edited more than forty books, amongst them: Teacher in America (1945), The House of Intellect (1959), The Modern Researcher (with Henry Graff, six editions), and Dawn to Decadence (2000) have been particularly influential and received critical acclaim and interest far beyond the academy.

Related links

Jacques Barzun Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom
Reminiscences of the Columbia History Department 1923-1975, by Jacques Barzun
Columbia College Profile of Barzun

With his wide-ranging intellect (which extends to such diverse subjects as baseball, Hector Berlioz, and detective fiction), his inspirational insistence on excellence, and the centrality of his dedication to his students and his University, Professor Barzun became an iconic figure on campus, in the intellectual community and in the larger world.

Featured speakers offering greetings, reminiscences and appreciations of Professor Barzun on October 18th, include: Alan Brinkley, provost of Columbia University and Allen Nevins Professor of American History; Austin E. Quigley, dean of Columbia College, Henry L. and Lucy C. Moses Professor, and Brander Matthews Professor of Dramatic Literature; Henry R. Graff, professor emeritus of history; William Theodore De Bary, John Mitchell Mason Professor Emeritus and University provost emeritus; and Kenneth T. Jackson, Jacques Barzun Professor in History and the Social Sciences.

– Written by Anne Burt.