You have blazed trails in the classroom, in scholarship, and in the integration of women into Williams. In addition to your teaching of Shakespeare, you were an early introducer to our curriculum of film studies and women’s studies, and your scholarly work in both fields has been highly influential. It has helped illuminate the work of such directors as Herzog, Bertolucci, and Bergman and brought fresh eyes to such films as Blue Velvet and Thelma and Louise. Most notably, however, you have in two highly regarded books expanded our understanding of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, helping us to see more deeply in their work the effects of their personal relationship. As a result, you have become a focus, at times even an obsession, of Plath devotees worldwide. Here at home, we especially applaud your advancement of the role of women at Williams. Joining the faculty forty years ago with few female colleagues, let alone role models, you quickly founded a branch of Committee W on the Status of Women, then helped write the college’s first affirmative action policy and appoint its first affirmative action officer, and then helped establish its first Women’s Studies Program. Through these efforts and so many more you have done as much as any Williams faculty member to make this a place where female students, faculty, and staff can thrive.
I hereby declare you Herbert H. Lehman Professor of English, Emerita, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.
June 3, 2012