Columbia University announces the ten recipients of the first annual Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards. The awards honor exceptional teaching in the Arts and Sciences, recognizing faculty who demonstrate unusual merit across a range of professorial activities, including: scholarship, University citizenship and professional involvement. The awards place a primary emphasis on the instruction and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.
The Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards are made possible by a $12 million donation from Columbia Trustee Gerry Lenfest (Law '58). Lenfest is a longtime supporter of the University, who donated $15 million to the Earth Institute in May 2004 and previously contributed $15 million toward the construction of Lenfest Hall, a residence for students at Columbia Law School.
Gareth Williams is an authority on Latin literature of the early empire. Williams is the Theodore Kahan Associate Professor in the Humanities and currently the chair of the Classics department. He has written major studies of Ovid's exile poetry and of Seneca's philosophical writings. Williams is an especially engaged scholar committed to undergraduate education and to a central course of the undergraduate curriculum, "Literature Humanities," serving as a mentor for teachers who are new to this core course. For his own teaching, he has been called, by a former student, "one of Columbia's gems." His conspicuous achievements as a teacher earned him the Mark Van Doren Teaching Award in 2003, and in 2005, The Annual Great Teacher's Award presented by the Society of Columbia Graduates. Williams has been selfless in his service to the Arts and Sciences, as a two-term chair of the Classics department, and as a valuable and trusted voice on crucial committees concerned with academic excellence and faculty governance.