UNH History Professor Wins Annual Lindberg Honor
Contact:  Erika L. Mantz
UNH Media Relations
March 7, 2006

DURHAM, N.H. -- J. William Harris, professor of history at the University of New Hampshire for more than 20 years, has been awarded the annual Lindberg Award for his achievements as both an outstanding scholar and teacher in the College of Liberal Arts.

Following tradition, last year’s recipient of the Lindberg Award, Susan Schibanoff, professor of English at UNH for 35 years, will present her address Tuesday, May 2, at 1 p.m. in Murkland 110. A reception will be held beginning at 12:30 p.m. The title of her talk is “Harvard’s Glass Chaucer: Art and Liberation.”

“Bill’s teaching is legendary in the history department,” said Janet Polasky, chair of the history department, in her nomination of Harris. “We – the old timers – still talk about the class he taught when he came for his interview almost 20 years ago. It was a large gen ed class; instead of lecturing as every other candidate has always done, he boldly led a discussion with 50 students he did not know in front of the entire faculty. Not only that, but it worked.”

The annual Lindberg Award was established by the College of Liberal Arts in 1986 in memory of Professor Gary Lindberg of the Department of English. Professor Lindberg was an exceptional scholar and outstanding teacher whose dedication and service to UNH as well as the wider community exemplified the highest academic standards and ideals.

Polasky went on to say that Harris truly combines his teaching and his scholarship, writing books that are accessible to non specialists as well as academics. “He is the perfect embodiment of the Lindberg ideals of bringing scholarship to our students and of teaching through our publications.”

Harris's publications include Plain Folk and Gentry in a Slave Society, which is still taught widely in college classes after 20 years; Society and Culture in the Slave South, which he edited; and Deep Souths: Delta, Piedmont, and Sea Island Society in the Age of Segregation. Deep Souths was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2002 and won the James Rawling competition for books dealing with race relations. His latest book, The Making of the American South: A Short History, 1500-1877, was published earlier this year. Harris has held fellowships at the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University, the National Center for the Humanities in North Carolina and the Center for Humanities at UNH, and taught as a Senior Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Genoa.

In announcing Harris as the recipient of this year’s award, Marilyn Hoskin, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, noted that he has served the university in virtually every capacity, “demonstrating over and over why faculty performance, leadership, and participating in governance are our greatest institutional strengths. He personifies the very best qualities of intellectual rigor and pragmatic good sense.”

In addition, Harris is consistently at the top of course evaluation rankings by students. “Those who have worked on research papers with him cannot overstate the patience displayed and time committed to their projects. He is, without question, the ultimate teacher,” Hoskin said.