Professors Anita Hill and Susan Lovett elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Anita Hill and Susan Lovett

Anita Hill and Susan Lovett

Two Brandeis professors have been elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

University Professor Anita Hill and Susan Lovett, the Abraham S. and Gertrude Burg Professor of Microbiology, were elected today to the Academy, which honors exceptionally accomplished individuals and engages them in advancing the public good.

“Congratulations to Professor Hill and Professor Lovett for receiving this prestigious and well-deserved honor,” said Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz. “These two professors are doing important and influential work at the university and in the public sphere, and we are fortunate to have them as faculty and colleagues at Brandeis.”

Other 2020 inductees include former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, musician Joan Baez, filmmaker Richard Linklater and poet Claudia Rankine.

“The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in operating rooms, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms,” academy president David W. Oxtoby said in an announcement. “With today’s election announcement, these new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy’s work to advance the public good.”

Hill, who came to Brandeis as a visiting scholar in 1998, entered the public eye in 1991 with her testimony during congressional hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. She has continued to be a leading national voice on issues of race, gender, workplace discrimination and sexual harrassment while building a distinguished academic career. She is the author of "Speaking Truth to Power" and "Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home," as well as numerous law review articles and book chapters. She was appointed a university professor, the university's most prestigious academic honor, in 2015.

"Election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a singular honor. I am humbled to be joining the company of the Academy's members, especially my Brandeis colleagues and contemporaries around the country whose work I admire," Hill said of her election. "And I am deeply grateful to my family and the Brandeis University community for helping me reach this milestone." 

Lovett, who came to Brandeis in 1989, studies genetic mutation and cellular pathways that prevent mutation. These mechanisms are important to avoiding cancer and cellular aging. In addition, her lab studies the structure and segregation of chromosomes in bacteria and how this aids survival in the environment, including human hosts.

"Especially at this challenging time, it's nice to get some good news," Lovett said.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780 by a group including John Adams and John Hancock. Past inductees include Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton in the 18th century; Ralph Waldo Emerson and Maria Mitchell in the 19th; Robert Frost, Martha Graham, Margaret Mead, Milton Friedman and Martin Luther King Jr. in the 20th. Inductees of the past two decades include Antonin Scalia, Michael Bloomberg, John Lithgow, Judy Woodruff and Bryan Stevenson.

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