Heaney Receives Prize For Pioneering Vision

Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory Seamus Heaney will have to make some more room on his mantle after being named an honoree of the 1997 Common Wealth Awards.

Heaney, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature last year, received the Common Wealth Award this year for his "outstanding accomplishments," said Jim E. Huckfeldt, marketing communications manager representing PNC Bank, the Awards' trustee.

Joining Heaney as winners this year are heart transplant pioneer Michael E. DeBakey, primatologist Jane Goodall, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee and Netscape co-founder James H. Clark.

The honorees were selected for a vision in their fields which "significantly affected this generation--and built a foundation for generations to come," according to a press release.

"These five achievers are truly pioneers for inspiring us to examine what is possible in ourselves, in each other, and in the world around us," said PNC Bank President and CEO Calvert A. Morgan Jr. in the press release.

Past recipients of both the Nobel Prize and the Common Wealth Award include Derek Walcott, Charles Townes, Henry A. Kissinger '50, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison and Cesar Milstein.

As an honoree, Heaney can also count himself with literary lions such as Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, John Updike '54 and William Styron.

Members of the English department were excited by the news that Heaney won the award.

"I'm delighted by the news," said Marquand Professor of English Lawrence Buell. "I think it is extremely well-deserved and brings honor not only to him but to the department and the university."

"I think it's great," said Richard C. Marius, senior lecturer on English. "He deserves every award he gets. It is marvelous to see a good human being getting all the attention Seamus is."

Heaney, who is away in Ireland on a leave of absence, could not be reached for comment.

PNC Bank will present each honoree with a $25,000 prize at a reception in Wilmington, Del. on April 5