Gettysburg College Prof. Gabor Boritt wins 2008 National Humanities Medal

Gettysburg College history professor and Civil War scholar Gabor S. Boritt received the National Humanities Medal for 2008 from President George W. Bush.

At a Nov. 17 White House ceremony, Boritt was honored "for a distinguished career of scholarship on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. His life's work and his life's story stand as testaments to our Nation's precious legacy of liberty."

A profile on the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) website describes Boritt as a "tireless advocate for the study of Lincoln and the Civil War" who "brings a passion for the subject that began during his early years as a Hungarian immigrant to the United States."

The profile also notes Boritt's achievements at Gettysburg College, where he is director and founder of the Civil War Institute and the Robert Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies, and his extensive scholarship, including his book, The Gettysburg Gospel, which was featured on the cover of U.S. News & World Report.

Boritt led Bush on a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield on Sept. 5, as described in a story in a local newspaper, the Hanover Evening Sun.

Boritt's life is the subject of a documentary, Budapest to Gettysburg, by his son, filmmaker Jake Boritt.

Along with Boritt, other recipients of the medal for 2008 were: Richard Brookhiser, biographer and historian; Harold Holzer, scholar and Civil War historian; Myron Magnet, journalist and author; Albert Marrin, children's book author; Milton J. Rosenberg, radio show host and scholar; Thomas A. Saunders III and Jordan Horner Saunders, philanthropists; Robert H. Smith, philanthropist; John Templeton Foundation; and Norman Rockwell Museum. Prior to the ceremony, the medalists and their families and friends attended a reception in their honor.

"The National Humanities Medal, first awarded in 1989 as the Charles Frankel Prize, honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities," said an NEH news release.

"The Humanities Medal is the most prestigious award in the humanities. Over the last decade, including this year's recipients, the National Humanities Medal has been awarded to only 107 individuals and 9 organizations," the release said. "Medal recipients do not compete for this award but are specially selected by the President for their life-long achievements in their diverse areas of expertise."

Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences. With a student body of approximately 2,600, it is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1832.

Contact: Kendra Martin, director of media relations

Posted: Fri, 5 Dec 2008

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