Faculty News

Macaulay Honors College is pleased to share that Distinguished Lecturer Ted Widmer is one of two CUNY faculty members who have been awarded 2022 Guggenheim Fellowships recognizing their careers of exceptional work in their fields.

CUNY’s newest Guggenheim fellows, recipients of one of the country’s most prestigious scholarly and artistic awards, are Edward (Ted) Widmer, a historian and former presidential aide whose latest of seven books is “Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington”; and Lisa Corinne Davis, an abstract painter whose work exploring racial, social and psychological identity has been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe.

“CUNY congratulates these two remarkable members of our faculty whose dedication to their work and to their students represent the best of public higher education and highlights CUNY’s ongoing commitment to the humanities,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “The Guggenheim Fellowships recognize both past achievement and future promise, and professors Widmer and Davis are continuing in the tradition of CUNY faculty honoring us with their contributions to the intellectual and artistic vibrancy of our campuses and our city.”

This year, the board of trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of 180 exceptional individuals, chosen from a rigorous application and peer review process out of almost 2,500 applicants. To see the full list of new Fellows, please visit here.

Ted WidmerWidmer has had a multi-faceted career since earning his Ph.D. in the history of American civilization from Harvard University, where he was also an editor of the Harvard Lampoon. After a teaching stint at his alma mater, he spent four years in the Clinton White House as a special assistant, foreign policy speechwriter and senior adviser on issues related to history and scholarship. He later conducted extensive interviews with Clinton while the former president was writing his autobiography.

He went on to become an associate professor of history at Washington College in Maryland and the first director of its C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. While there he created the George Washington Book Prize, an annual award given to the best book on the founding fathers. In 2006 he was appointed director and librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, where he led efforts to digitize the library’s holdings and raised funds to save Haitian libraries in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.

Hear it: Ted Widmer discusses his book “Lincoln on the Verge”

Widmer was a senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and between 2010 and 2015 he helped to create and often contributed to The New York Times’ series “Disunion,” a digital history of the Civil War. He was appointed a distinguished lecturer at Macaulay Honors College in 2018.

“I’m deeply grateful to the Guggenheim Foundation for this fellowship, and all that they do to support path-breaking new work across the disciplines,” Widmer said. “I also want to thank my students and colleagues at Macaulay and CUNY for giving me such a congenial place to work.”

A widely admired painter, Lisa Corinne Davis is a professor of art and art history at Hunter College and co-director of the college’s MFA program in studio art. She is best known for her abstract paintings and works on paper that resemble multilayered maps she describes as “inventive geography” to explore perceptions of racial, social and psychological identity. “A map is made with geometric shapes and primary colors and black and white,” she told an interviewer. “We just assume that it is delivering facts to us. I am constantly playing with whether you can trust what you are seeing in the work.”

Davis’ paintings have been exhibited in galleries across the United States and Europe and have been included in collections at the Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. Her Guggenheim will be supporting two upcoming solo shows, at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in San Francisco this fall and the Miles McEnery Gallery next spring.

A Baltimore native, Davis earned her MFA at Hunter in 1983 and joined its faculty in 2002. She previously taught at the Yale University School of Art and has lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and numerous universities. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship, three artist fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.