Department Awards, Karofsky Prize Presented on 2014 Honors Day

Robert Sobak delivers the Honors Day Address

Bowdoin College held its 18th annual Honors Day ceremony on May 7 in Kanbar Auditorium, Studzinski Recital Hall, to recognize the academic accomplishments of Bowdoin students and faculty.

“Today is a celebration not only of individual achievements, but also of collective mentorship and guidance,” said Assistant Professor (soon to be Associate Professor) of Classics Robert Sobak, recipient of the 2013 Sydney B. Karofsky Prize for Junior Faculty, in his Honors Day Address “Unknown Unknowns.”

Titled in reference to a quotation by Donald Rumsfeld, Sobak’s address drew from Greek and Roman history to illustrate the importance of valuing others’ contributions as well as one’s own, and the relevance of a liberal arts education that is “a holistic experience aimed partially, at least, at producing individuals, and over time groups, best capable of tackling the unknown unknowns in their own lives, and in the lives of whatever organizations they serve.”

“Accept this much-deserved praise and recognition, thank all of those with whom you have learned, and be prepared, from this day forward, to teach and be taught in turn,” Sobak said to his audience.

Ingrid Nelson receives the 2014 Sydney B. Karofsky Prize from Dean Judd

Following Sobak’s address, Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd presented this year’s Karofsky Prize to Assistant Professor of Sociology Ingrid Nelson. The Karofsky Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding Bowdoin teacher who best demonstrates the ability to impart knowledge, inspire enthusiasm and stimulate intellectual curiosity. Conferred by the Dean for Academic Affairs in consultation with the Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure, the award is generously funded by members of the Karofsky family, including Peter S. Karofsky ’62, Paul I. Karofsky ’66 and David M. Karofsky ’93.

Nelson, who holds a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from Stanford University, teaches courses in introductory sociology and social research, race and ethnicity, and sociology of education at Bowdoin. Her research interests include educational inequality, out-of-school time, and youth development. Nelson was previously selected by members of the 2014 senior class to give this semester’s Jan. 31 Karofsky Faculty Encore Lecture, also underwritten by the Karofsky family fund.

The evening’s musical interlude, Clarinet Trio, op. 114, mvt. IV (Andante Grazioso) by Johannes Brahms, was performed by Timothy Locke ’14 on clarinet, Daniel Lesser ’14 on cello, and Yowon Yoon ’14 on piano. Departmental prizes were then presented to students by academic department and program chairs.

View the 2014 Honors Day program to see the names of the prize-winning students.

Photography by Dennis Griggs/Tannery Hill Studios

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