20.025 report on the Lyman Award

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2006 14:29:30 +0100

                Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 25.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Thu, 18 May 2006 14:24:45 +0100
         From: "James J. O'Donnell" <jod_at_georgetown.edu>
         Subject: A splendid evening

Willard (for the list),

The fifth annual Richard W. Lyman Award was presented this evening, as
you may recall, to one Willard McCarty of King's College London, in
recognition of his lifetime achievement (so far) in the domain of
humanities computing. He follows Jerry McGann, Roy Rosenzweig, Robert
Englund, and John Unsworth in this honor. The award, which includes a
substantial monetary recognition, is administered by the National
Humanities Center, on behalf of the Rockefeller Foundation, which made
the original grant in honor of its former president, R.W. Lyman. The
selection committee was chaired, as you may recall, by myself, as a
sometime trustee of the National Humanities Center, and included the
other Lyman winners as well as a palaeographer, a president, and
another provost.

I write not to spread the news, but to describe a memorable evening --
for the attendance. Among others, we had the pleasure of seeing Bob
Hollander of Princeton, source of the Dartmouth Dante Project and the
Princeton Dante Project, two complimentary resources of immense value
and now some antiquity (the DDP -- comprising the history of formal
commentary on the Divine Commedia with full texts of every major
commentary back to the fourteenth century) and Joe Raben, emeritus of
CUNY and both founding president of Association for Computing in the
Humanities and founding editor of the journal Computers in the
Humanities (when I asked him when he got into humanities computing, he
said "1962", which is enough to make all of us feel young), and a fair
galaxy of other contemporary worthies from across the academic
community. Your own acceptance remarks, suitably illustrated from
Blake and Bunyan, inter alios, reminded me that your removal to London
has deprived many of us of the pleasure of hearing you *speak* as
often as a kinder -- or more intelligently designing -- deity would
have allowed -- ever articulate, ever allusive, ever learned, ever
sage. That we discovered in the bargain that you do indeed have a
mother -- appropriately beaming -- and did not spring full-blown from
the head of Zeus as the other evidence would have suggested was one of
only many pleasures of the evening.

In the course of preparing my own remarks, I did some archive-trawling
and found that indeed I am young in another way, having made my first
intervention on Humanist when the list was already two and a half
years old, in August of 1989, and that I did so with unusual and
unconscious appreciation of the symbolism of dates, choosing the Feast
of St. Augustine for the actual day. In doing so it was pleasant to
be reminded of the Good Old Days and to have a very Good New Day in
the bargain. To paraphrase and contort Yogi, thanks for making this
day necessary, old friend.

Jim O'Donnell
Received on Thu May 18 2006 - 10:02:20 EDT

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