Laurent Fabius, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, bestowed the French Legion of Honor upon Prof. Robert Morrissey during a special ceremony May 11 hosted by President Robert J. Zimmer. The ceremony took place at the Quadrangle Club in the presence of François Delattre, French ambassador to the U.S., and Morrissey’s colleagues and students.
Created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to reward extraordinary accomplishments and outstanding services rendered to France, the Legion of Honor is France’s highest distinction and one of the most prized in the world.
“I am deeply honored to have been awarded the Légion d’honneur,” said Morrissey. “I have devoted my career to understanding the specific nature of French culture as it has unfolded over time, and this recognition is profoundly gratifying.”
Morrissey, the Benjamin Franklin Professor in Romance Languages and Literatures, also serves as executive director of the France Chicago Center. He is a senior fellow in the Computation Institute and is the director of the Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL).
Morrissey earned his PhD with honors in French literature from UChicago and began teaching at UChicago in 1981. Morrissey specializes in 18th- and 19th-century French literature, history and culture. His work concentrates on themes and cultural currents over the longue durée and includes The Economy of Glory: From Ancien Régime France to the Fall of Napoleon, published this year by the University of Chicago Press.
Fabius is the former prime minister of France (1984-86) and the author of six books. He is a specialist in economic and financial issues, European affairs, international relations as well as paintings and sculpture. In 2004, Fabius was a visiting senior lecturer at the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies.
The France Chicago Center fosters and promotes fruitful exchange across the disciplines between UChicago scholars and their colleagues in France, while increasing awareness in the UChicago community of French culture, art and thought. To this end, it organizes conferences, public lectures, workshops, film series, art exhibitions, and visits to Chicago by distinguished scholars from France. The France Chicago Center also provides abundant travel grant and internship opportunities for Chicago students, and manages a unique University-wide initiative that supports laboratories at the University of Chicago and in France who engage in collaborative scientific research.