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Socrates Citation in Honor of Louise L. Stevenson

Throughout her illustrious career as an historian and practitioner of American Studies, Louise Stevenson interrogated our understanding of our present by grappling with the legacy of the past.

Professor Stevenson joined the faculty in 1982 after receiving a Ph.D. from Boston University in American and New England Studies. The first woman tenured by the History Department and American Studies Program, Professor Stevenson was the 1992 recipient of the College’s Bradley R. Dewey Award for Scholarship and Teaching. Stevenson has also won numerous awards, including grants from the Mellon Foundation, Winterthur Society, the Spencer Foundation, and the American Antiquarian Society. Professor Stevenson has contributed robustly to the fields of American History, Women’s History, the History of Education, and American Studies. She is on the Lincoln Prize Advisory Council of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and served on awards and planning committees for the Organization of American Historians and the American Antiquarian Society. She was nominated by President William Jefferson Clinton as a trustee of the James Madison Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

Deeply committed to scholarship, Professor Stevenson has repeatedly reconceptualized traditional topics in provocative ways by providing insights into subjects as far ranging as presidential history, the Harlem Renaissance, and US imperialism. She will follow up her most recent book, "Lincoln in the Atlantic World, "with a volume entitled "Lincoln and Freedom on the High Seas."

Professor Stevenson’s promotion of independent student research projects is legendary. Carving out space for the social sciences in the Hackman Scholarship Program, she supervised research that produced exhibits such as ones celebrating the College’s bicentennial history and the Emancipation Proclamation’s 150th anniversary and featuring the College’s extensive World War I poster collection.

Professor Stevenson’s absolute dedication to her students is impressive and reciprocated; they cherish her mentorship and friendship. Over the years, she has devoted countless hours to students of every ability. It is no wonder that so many maintain contact with her. Professor Stevenson’s warmth and self-deprecating sense of humor always put students at ease; they also found it a real treat to run into her on campus with her dog. As one student recalled, “you were the first professor to take me under your wing and I will never forget that.” Two decades after graduation, another asserted: “I am still in awe of your talent and energy... I am forever in your debt for making my F&M experience so special and meaningful.” Simply put, she is one of those professors who is remembered over the years and decades.

Professor Stevenson is actively involved in the life of the College and the broader Lancaster community. She has left her mark on various groups by documenting their histories. Under her supervision, students unearthed primary sources related to the history of Lancaster’s Women’s Liberation Movement, the Lancaster Humane League, the Lancaster County League of Women’s Voters, and the Lancaster Junior League. For nearly three decades, she served on the board of directors of the Lancaster County League of Women Voters and currently is on the Executive Committee of the Lancaster Medical Heritage Museum’s board. As co-chair of the Legacy of Slavery at F&M Study Group, Professor Stevenson spearheaded the collection and archiving of documentary evidence. She authored the section on John Marshall while editing and proofreading her colleagues’ contributions. The group produced a living history and helped structure initial conversations about this discomforting legacy. She ends her career with an undertaking that will benefit the Franklin & Marshall community for years to come.

Socrates Citation in Honor of Louise L. Stevenson

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