Three Professors Honored for Exemplary Scholarship and Advising

In May 2016, three faculty members received awards for exemplary scholarship and student advising.

Leon Claessens, associate professor of biology, and Helen Freear-Papio, lecturer of Spanish and director of the foreign language assistants program, are the recipients of the Mary Louise Marfuggi Faculty Awards. The annual awards are made possible by a generous gift from Richard A. Marfuggi, M.D. ’72, in honor of his mother.

Mark Freeman, professor of psychology and distinguished professor of ethics and society, received the Distinguished Faculty Scholarship Award. This new award is presented to a faculty member with an exceptionally distinguished record of scholarly achievement throughout his or her career.

Mary Louise Marfuggi Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship
Claessens received the Mary Louise Marfuggi Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship. This annual award was established to honor a member of the faculty for outstanding achievement in the creation of original work in the arts and sciences over an 18-month period.

Claessens is a world-renowned paleontologist whose research focuses on vertebrate paleontology and anatomy. Announcing the awards during her annual spring address to the faculty, Margaret Freije, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, highlighted Claessens’ recent achievements, including the publication of the first comprehensive atlas of dodo anatomy, based on the only existing fully intact skeleton of a single bird, which Claessens located on the island of Mauritius. His work is changing the preconceived understanding of the dodo’s anatomy and infamous “flightless” locomotion.

A faculty member since 2005, Claessens earned his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University. He teaches courses on topics such as vertebrate history, comparative morphology, Mesozoic life and general biology. Claessens was also the recipient of a National Science Foundation grant for his digital archives on bird anatomy and the dodo, Aves 3D: An Online Database of Three-Dimensional Avian Skeletal Morphology.

Mary Louise Marfuggi Faculty Award for Academic Advisement
Freear-Papio was named the recipient of the Mary Louise Marfuggi Faculty Award for Academic Advisement. This award is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated effective academic advisement and mentorship of students that was extraordinary in quality and sustained over at least three years; it is based on student nominations. In addition to her regular advising, she has served as the primary adviser and mentor to Holy Cross’ foreign language assistants (FLAs) for the last 18 years, helping them to adjust to life in the U.S. and to their role at the College.

In her address, Freije quoted one of the student-submitted nominations of Freear-Papio: “I first met her when I was a student struggling in her class. She always took time to support students like me who needed extra help. She is a woman who I regard now as a mentor, and I still seek her advice in academic and non-academic matters.”

Freear-Papio, who joined the College as a faculty member in 1993, earned her Ph.D. in Spanish literature from the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on female identity, violence against women and historical memory in contemporary Spanish drama written by women since the 1980s, and she teaches courses across the Spanish department’s curriculum.

Distinguished Faculty Scholarship Award
In recognition of his distinguished record of scholarship throughout his career, including five books and 86 articles and chapters, Freeman received the Distinguished Faculty Scholarship Award. Freeman specializes in the history and philosophy of psychology. In her address, Freije called attention to the volume and quality of Freeman’s work over the past 18 months: one book, one edited volume, 18 articles and chapters, as well as keynote presentations at multiple conferences across the U.S. and abroad.

Freeman, who joined the College as a faculty member in 1986, earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. In 2002, Freeman was named the W. Arthur Garrity Sr. Professor in Human Nature, Ethics and Society for a four-year term. He also received the Arthur J. O’Leary Faculty Scholarship Award from Holy Cross in 2010. He is a fellow in the American Psychological Association and serves as editor for the Oxford University Press series “Explorations in Narrative Psychology.”  ■

—Jessica Kennedy