In a ceremony that took place yesterday in the East Room of the White House President Barack Obama awarded University of Chicago historian and author William H. McNeill a National Humanities Medal. According to the NEH press release McNeill was awarded the prize in recognition of “his exceptional talent as a teacher and scholar… and as an author of more than twenty books, including The Rise of the West, which traces civilizations through 5,000 years of recorded history.”
An article in today’s Washington Post notes that alongside McNeill, a rather eclectic assortment of prominent figures in the arts, including singer Bob Dylan, actor and director Clint Eastwood, painter Frank Stella, and Nobel laureate and author Elie Wiesel, also received awards. The article in the Post continues:
Leaders in the arts and humanities are surveyed by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, both federally funded agencies, and the final list is selected by the White House.
“These individuals and organizations show us how many ways art works every day,” NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said in a statement. “They represent the breadth and depth of American architecture, design, film, music, performance, theater and visual art.”
To find out more about the award read the Washington Post article or navigate to the press release on the website of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
For more on McNiell’s prolific oeuvre see this list of his publications with the Press.