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Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel Accepts Chapman Fellowship

August 27, 2010

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace laureate and new Chapman Presidential Fellow.

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Holocaust survivor and author of more than 50 books, including the internationally acclaimed Night, has accepted an appointment as a Distinguished Presidential Fellow at Chapman University.  The announcement was made today by Chapman President Jim Doti during the university’s 2010 Opening Convocation, attended by nearly 1,200 new Chapman students and their families.

Under the terms of the appointment, Professor Wiesel will spend time at Chapman University this spring and will return for the following four years, though 2015.  During his fellowship stay of several days each spring, he will visit classes in Chapman’s Holocaust history minor and possibly other disciplines, including history, French, religious studies and literature.  Complete plans for his fellowship activities are still in progress.  He will retain his full-time faculty position at Boston University.

“In 2005 and again in April of this year, we were fortunate to welcome Professor Wiesel to our campus,” said President Doti. “It is rare to have a Nobel Peace Prize laureate visit once, let alone twice – and we knew we were among a very few select institutions in the world.  That this remarkable individual, one of the world’s most famous and respected people, one who truly exemplifies the meaning of ‘global citizen,’ should choose to return to spend time with our students is truly a tremendous honor for Chapman.  Of all the many honors and prestigious titles Professor Wiesel has received, the one he treasures the most is that of ‘teacher.’”

Professor Wiesel said in a statement, “On my two visits to Chapman University, I was profoundly impressed by the quality of the students and faculty, in particular Dr. Marilyn Harran, and by the way in which the university is teaching and remembering some of the most tragic events in human history, events that have had such a deep influence upon my life.  For these reasons, I have made the decision to return to Chapman annually as Distinguished Presidential Fellow.”

Dr. Harran, Stern Chair in Holocaust Education, Professor of Religious Studies and History and director of Chapman’s Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education, added, “Professor Wiesel has been the face and voice of Holocaust memory and witness to the world, and an ambassador of humanity and hope for decades.  He has consistently challenged us to learn from the Holocaust and to reject indifference, and – in his words – ‘to think higher and feel deeper.’ We are unbelievably fortunate that he has chosen to return to Chapman and to share with us his knowledge and wisdom.  I am stunned and deeply grateful that he will be with us in this new role as Distinguished Presidential Fellow.  I know our university community will be profoundly enriched and inspired by his presence.”

Wiesel first visited Chapman University in April 2005, when he took part in dedication ceremonies for the university’s Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library. During that visit – which also marked the 60th anniversary of Professor Wiesel’s liberation from the Buchenwald concentration camp – the university presented him with an honorary doctorate in humane letters, and unveiled a large bronze bust of Professor Wiesel near the entrance of the Holocaust Memorial Library.

His second visit to Chapman took place in April 2010, when he was guest of honor at the university’s gala “Our Promise to Remember: An Evening of Humanity and Hope,” marking the 10th anniversary of the Rodgers Center and the Stern Chair.  During that visit, he also spoke to Chapman students and to middle and high school students who submitted winning entries in the Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest sponsored by Chapman and The “1939” Club, a Holocaust survivor organization.

The university includes among its faculty Nobel Prize laureate in economics Vernon Smith, Ph.D. and Wolf Prize recipient in physics, Yakir Aharonov, Ph.D.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tayler Jannasch permalink
    August 25, 2010 1:00 pm

    so cool

  2. frank seddigh permalink
    August 26, 2010 11:21 am

    This is fantastic! I feel honored to be a part of Chapman’s Alumni.

    Frank Seddigh ’01 (BA) & 06 (LL.M.)

  3. Kris Eric Olsen permalink
    August 27, 2010 2:13 pm

    This incredible opportunity would not have been possible if it were not for Dr. Marilyn Harran’s extraordinary dedication and vision.

  4. Les Clements permalink
    September 4, 2010 10:47 am

    This is a wonderful commentary and an inspiration to everyone. I have used his book, Night, in my HISU 365 History of the Holocaust course many times. The students received his story and message with great respect and awe. One cannot help but wonder then, considering the specialty of Holocaust studies in the Chapman University System, why Brandman University has eliminated this offering to our students.
    Nevertheless, this was a fine article about a great man and an immensely worthy topic of academic study and general interest. It is very rewarding to see Elie Wiesel honored this way by Chapman University.

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