The University of Chicago Library Society celebrates Hanna Holborn Gray's An Academic Life: A Memoir


Join the University of Chicago Library Society as it celebrates Hanna Holborn Gray’s new book, An Academic Life: A Memoir. During this special evening, Mrs. Gray will present a lecture entitled “The Groves of Academe, Revisited.” Introductory remarks will be given by Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University. A reception will follow.

Hanna Holborn Gray has lived her entire life in the world of higher education. The daughter of academics, she fled Hitler’s Germany with her parents in the 1930s, emigrating to New Haven, where her father was a professor at Yale University. She is a historian with special interests in the history of humanism, political and historical thought, church history and politics in the Renaissance and the Reformation.

Mrs. Gray has studied and taught at some of the world’s most prestigious universities. She taught history at the University of Chicago from 1961 to 1972 and again since 1993 and is now the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor of History Emeritus in the University of Chicago’s Department of History. She continues to teach courses in the department. Mrs. Gray was appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Northwestern University in 1971. In 1974, she was elected Provost of Yale University with an appointment as Professor of History. From 1977 to 1978, she also served as President of Yale. In 1978, she became President of the University of Chicago, a position she held for fifteen years. She is now President Emeritus.

In 1991, Mrs. Gray was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to education. Among a number of other awards, she has received the Jefferson Medal of the American Philosophical Society and the National Humanities Award in 1993. Mrs. Gray is also the recipient of seventy honorary degrees.

An Academic Life, published by Princeton University Press, is a candid self-portrait by one of academia’s most respected trailblazers. Mrs. Gray describes what it was like to grow up as a child of refugee parents, and reflects on the changing status of women in the academic world. She discusses the migration of intellectuals from Nazi-held Europe and the transformative role these exiles played in American higher education--and how the émigré experience in America transformed their own lives and work. She sheds light on the character of university communities, how they are structured and administered, and the balance they seek between tradition and innovation, teaching and research, and undergraduate and professional learning.

An Academic Life speaks to the fundamental issues of purpose, academic freedom, and governance that arise time and again in higher education, and that pose sharp challenges to the independence and scholarly integrity of each new generation.

This event is hosted by a campus partner. If you have any questions regarding registration or logistics of the event, e.g., where to meet, special assistance requests, parking, please contact the Event Contact listed.



Event Information

Cost: Complimentary
Registration Required


Wednesday, 05/9/18 at 5:00pm - 8:00pm | iCal


The Joseph Regenstein Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637 USA

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Event Contact
Nadeige Uwamba