William P. Reynolds Professor of History
An extraordinarily prolific author with broad appeal to both academic and popular audiences, Felipe Fernández-Armesto’s elegant and imaginative prose has resulted in 20 books (translated into 27 languages) that have contributed to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the history of humankind and the planet.
In one of his most recent works, 1492 The Year the World Began, Fernández-Armesto traces key elements of the modern world back to that single, fateful year: the distribution of power and wealth, divisions among major religions and civilizations, ecological systems, and the interconnectedness of disparate economies that we now call globalization.
Fernández-Armesto spent most of his career teaching at Oxford University, from which he earned both his undergraduate and doctoral degrees. He has held visiting appointments at a number of universities and research institutions in Europe and the Americas. Among other distinctions, he has won the John Carter Brown Medal, the Caird Medal of the National Maritime Museum (UK), the Premio Nacional a Investigación of the Sociedad Geográfica Española, Spain's Premio Nacional de Gastronomía for his history of food, and the Tercentenary Medal of the Society of Antiquaries of London.
Mike (’71) and Eileen (SMC ’72) Lindberg established this professorship in honor of Eileen’s father, a devout Catholic with a special devotion to the Blessed Mother. A 1948 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bill is perhaps best known as an active, early proponent of Boston’s “Big Dig” project.