President Barack Obama presented William H. McNeill, an emeritus history professor at the University, with a 2009 National Humanities Medal in a ceremony at the White House Thursday.
McNeill has written numerous books on global history, served as president of the American Historical Association, and helped design the Western Civilization Core sequence, a press release said.
At the presentation, Obama cited McNeill’s “pedagogy at the University of Chicago and as an author of more than 20 books, including The Rise of the West, which traces civilizations through 5,000 years of recorded history.” McNeill won the National Book Award for The Rise of the West in 1964.
McNeill explained his love for education in an interview with Humanities magazine, the release said. “Teaching is the most wonderful way to learn things,” he said. “You have to get up before a class at 10 o’clock the next morning and have something to say.”
Seventeen University affiliates have received the medal, according to the University website, including historian Studs Terkel (Ph.D. ’32, J.D. ’34) in 1997 and classicist Allan Bloom (A.B. ’49, A.M. ’53, Ph.D. ’55) in 1992.