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Hood names recipient of Libman professorship

July 28, 2002

FREDERICK, Md. - An expert in Roman archaeology and Latin literature was named the Sophia M. Libman National Endowment for the Humanities Professor at Hood College.

During her three-year appointment, Genevieve Simandl Gessert of New Haven, Conn., will teach Latin I and II and interdisciplinary courses on the culture of ancient Greece and Rome, help plan the NEH Center for the Humanities lecture series at Hood and convene a teaching workshop each year.

The teaching workshop will bring together faculty from Hood and Frederick Community College and scientists from Fort Detrick.

Gessert was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston from 2001 to 2002 and served as a teaching fellow at Yale between 1995 and 1999. She has been honored with numerous academic awards and grants, including a grant from the U.S. Fulbright Commission.

The Sophia M. Libman NEH Professorship was made possible by a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a matching gift from Frank H. Libman of Westminster, Md., and from the estate of his wife, the late Sophia Meredith Libman. Beginning in 1998, Hood College matched the NEH grant 3-1, raising more than $900,000 by July.

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Together with the $300,000 from the NEH, the $1.2 million endowment for the Center for the Humanities will fund the Sophia M. Libman NEH Professorship and a yearly lecture series.

Sophia Libman, who died in March 2000, graduated from Hood in 1937, majoring in English. A lifelong advocate for the creative arts, she dedicated her time to painting and writing, and was an avid reader. She was involved in a variety of community activities, serving in positions of leadership with the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women.

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