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Mercer, Lurie Receive Van Doren, Trilling Awards
The Columbia College Student Council’s Academic Awards Committee presented the 2012 Mark Van Doren Award to Christia Mercer, the Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy, and the Lionel Trilling Award to David B. Lurie ’01 GSAS, associate professor of Japanese history and literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. The awards were presented on May 2 in the Presidential Ballroom at Faculty House.
The Mark Van Doren Award, which honors a Columbia professor for commitment to undergraduate instruction as well as for “humanity, devotion to truth and inspiring leadership,” was named for Mark Van Doren ’21 GSAS, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, novelist, literary critic and longtime Columbia faculty member with a reputation for pedagogical greatness.
Mercer studied art history in New York and Rome before going to graduate school in philosophy at Princeton, where she earned a Ph.D. in 1989. Mercer joined Columbia’s Department of Philosophy in 1991 and became the Gustave M. Berne Professor in 2003. She was presented the 2008 Columbia College Great Teacher Award by the Society of Columbia Graduates and specializes in early modern philosophy, the history of Platonism and the history of feminism.
The Lionel Trilling Award honors a book from the past year by a Columbia professor that best exhibits the standards of intellect and scholarship found in the work of longtime Columbia faculty member Lionel Trilling ’25, ’38 GSAS, an author and renowned literary critic. Lurie was honored for his book Realms of Literacy: Early Japan and the History of Writing.
Lurie earned a B.A. from Harvard in 1993 and an M.A. (1996) and Ph.D. (2001) from Columbia. His research interests include the literary and cultural history of seventh- through 12th-century Japan; the Japanese reception of Chinese literary, historical and technical writings; the development of Japanese dictionaries and encyclopedias; and the history of linguistic thought.
The Van Doren and Trilling awards are unique for Columbia because they are the only academic honors judged and presented by students.