Dr. E. Ann Matter, professor and chair of religious studies, has been named the first R. Jean Brownlee Endowed Term Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, Dean Rosemary Stevens announced this week as a fitting recognition for Dr. Matter's "commitment and years of achievement at Penn."
The Brownlee chair is named for the late Dean of the College for Women, who died just over a year ago. It was established through a gift of the McLean Contributionship under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. William McLean, III, in recognition of Dean Brownlee's years of service as a trustee of that organizationa successor to the Bulletin Contributionshipand their lifelong friendship with her.
Dr. Matter is a Lindback Award-winning teacher and a widely published scholar whose work encompasses both the history of the interpretation of the Bible from the Middle Ages to the present, and studies of women in early modern Italy. Her most recent books include two from the University of Pennsylvania Press, The Voice of My Beloved: The Song of Songs in Western Medieval Christianity (1990), and Creative Women in Medieval and Early Modern Italy (edited with John Coakley, 1994). She is also known for her critical edition of Paschasii Radiberti's De partu Virginis (1985) and is the author of some 40 articles and chapters in journals and books published here and abroad.
A 1971 alumna of Oberlin College, Dr. Matter took both M.Phil. and M.A. degrees at Yale in 1975, and her Ph.D. there a year later. She joined Penn in 1976 as an assistant professor, became associate professor in 1982, and was promoted to full professor in 1990.
She has just been named a Guggenheim Fellow this year, and the award will be used to continue her work in glosses on the Bible. Among her other prizes have been Yale's Whiting Fellowship for the Humanities, 1975-76, and two National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowships, held in 1979 and 1988. Dr. Matter received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1981. Later she served as president of the Lindback Society as it was revived after a long period of inactivity.
Another major assignment Dr. Matter held at Penn was to direct the Women's Studies Program in 1981-83and during that time to interview, for the Program's Oral History Project, two women who helped shape women's presence at the University: Dr. Althea Hottel and Dr. R. Jean Brownlee. "The Brownlee Chair means all the more to me because of that," said Dr. Matter.
February 6, 1996
Volume 42 Number 19
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