French Foreign Minister Presents Robert Morrissey with Legion of Honor

Laurent Fabius awards Robert Morrissey the Legion of Honor

This article originally appeared in UChicago News on 9 May.

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.

Chicago Linguistics Society Celebrates 50th Annual Conference

CLS 50

The Chicago Linguistic Society’s annual conference has occupied an important role in the field of linguistics from the very first conference in 1965. “It was the place to be in the 60s and 70s,” observed second-year Linguistics PhD student Adam Singerman. “When you look at the old proceedings it’s striking how many important papers were discussed here.” 

Decades later, the conference—now the oldest graduate student-run linguistics conference in the country—continues to attract new generations of scholars. On April 10-12, graduate students from the Department of Linguistics celebrated the 50th version of the conference, dubbed “CLS 50,” hosting hundreds of linguists in Ida Noyes Hall for plenary sessions, invited lectures, and a panel discussion on the history of the Chicago Linguistics Society (CLS). 

CLS 50

In contrast to many graduate student conferences, said Singerman, one of the eleven organizers of the event, the CLS “is run by graduate students but not exclusively for graduate students.”

Panelists from distinguished professors to early career graduate students presented on the linguistic structures of languages ranging from the familiar (English and German) to the less familiar (Mongolian and Arapaho), and the extinct (Cupeño, an extinct Uto-Aztecan language of California) to the unspoken (American Sign Language).

The final day’s proceedings included a panel discussion on the history of the CLS. The CLS “has accumulated a lot of lore and a culture of its own,” said Singerman. “The panel was a celebration of that.” Moderated by John A. Goldsmith, Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and Computer Science, the panelists included Jerrold Sadock, the Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, and alumni Donka Farkas, PhD’81, professor of linguistics at University of California, Santa Cruz, and Anthony C. Woodbury, AB’75, AM’75, professor of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin.


For co-organizer Natalia Pavlou, the history of the CLS is “a history book for both the department and the field of linguistics.”


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