Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Mary Ann Levine: 2014 Recipient of the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching

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The following citation was presented at Franklin & Marshall College's 2014 Commencement Ceremony on May 10, 2014:

Professor Mary Ann Levine arrived at Franklin & Marshall College, in the Department of Anthropology, in 1998 after earning her B.A. with First-Class Honours from McGill University in Montreal and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Professor Levine has continually demonstrated a true dedication to teaching and her students, who have responded with devotion, as demonstrated by her high evaluations, the number of majors drawn to the Department of Anthropology from her introductory classes, and the growth of the archaeological program under her care.

While there are a few students who consider her too rigorous and wish for fewer books or less challenging written assignments, the majority of Professor Levine’s students appreciate her work. They always highlight her infectious enthusiasm as an archaeologist of Native North America, convincing many of them to come back for more.

Students eagerly take part in laboratory exercises, sign up for field trips and write papers that have been presented at regional and national conferences. One student said that having class with Professor Levine enabled her to “look more objectively at everything” and “reminded [her] of why [she] was in a place like this.” The stalwart young archaeologists from Professor Levine’s classes share archaeological interests and a deep joy in learning—a joy cultivated by Professor Levine whether in a class, at the lab table among carefully catalogued artifacts, or in a muddy field trench.

Professor Levine’s classes spill out into the community. She is generous with the sites and data that have established her archaeological reputation. Since they are delicate and rich sources of knowledge of early Native America, she trains students rigorously in excavation and site preservation, does the legwork to get students to the field, then diligently acts as site director while they uncover traces of the Native American past together. Professor Levine has also introduced students to the 19th-century past in Lancaster with the well-known excavation of the Thaddeus Stevens/Lydia Hamilton Smith historic site—additionally giving them an opportunity to share what they’ve learned with children in Lancaster schools. More than 100 students have worked on field sites and in the laboratory with Professor Levine since 1999.

Professor Levine’s best students invariably go on to write research papers and theses on topics they studied under her guidance. She is as meticulous in working with students as she is in her own, highly respected scholarship. Each of these students credits Professor Levine’s contributions to his or her learning experience. The department marvels at her industry in helping students achieve their archaeological goals—being in the field, working in the lab, finding museum internships, surviving the honors process, or advancing to graduate training.

Professor Levine models citizenship for students in the department, in the College, in academe, and in the community. She maintains the strictest standards, and students love her for it. She is also playful in the midst of all this high seriousness; her students recount many stories of her jokes, usually told in the driest of voices. Her love for students shines through, no matter what she is doing, and they reciprocate. Finally, Professor Levine’s croquet teams—the department’s end-of-year celebration features a croquet tournament—are rabid, trash talking, and fierce in their loyalty to their captain. They are also almost always triumphant. Meanwhile, Professor Levine, master teacher, stands modestly, beaming in the midst of their passionate embrace of her, the game and anthropology.