May 18, 2010
Scholar-Teacher Award Honors E. Brooks Holifield
"Why are Americans so religious, and how did they get that way?" It's a big question E. Brooks Holifield's latest scholarship attempts to answer "by looking at religion in Europe and America from a comparative perspective during the past 300 years," said the Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Church History.
Holifield received the 2010 University Scholar/Teacher Award, selected by Emory faculty on behalf of the United Methodist Church Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
"I am especially grateful to my deans and colleagues at the School of Theology and the Graduate Division of Religion," says Holifield. "It has been a superb community in which to work, and it has offered consistent encouragement, good constructive criticism, and a sense of collegiality that fosters the desire to work just a little harder."
Known as a consummate scholar, Holifield has written seven single-author books, receiving Book of the Year by the American Academy of Parish Clergy, the Albert C. Outler Prize of the American Society of Church History, and Outstanding Book by University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries. His research focuses on patterns of change in American religious history.
Holifield's scholarship has earned him numerous academic awards and fellowships, including three National Endowment for the Humanities grants and two of the highest theological education grants, a Louisville Institute Fellowship and a Henry Luce Fellowship. His academic guild elected him president of the American Society of Church History.
When students describe his teaching, they regularly use the words "brilliant" and "passionate." His colleagues also recognize him as a master teacher who is generous in mentoring doctoral students and junior faculty.
"No one person fully deserves this award, for Emory is filled with people who commit themselves to both teaching and writing at a level of excellence that often leaves me in awe," Holifield says. "I see my reception of the award as a symbolic gesture that represents that company of dedicated teachers and scholars, and I feel, of course, deeply honored to have been this year's symbolic representative.
"I am pleased, too, that Emory offers such an award and gives it such a prominent place in its commencement ceremony, for it embodies the values that a good university should always be seeking to realize."