CUNY professors awarded Guggenheim Fellowships



Victoria Kenney

Professor Edward Widmer, a historian at Macaulay Honors College, and professor Lisa Davis, who teaches art at Hunter College, were bestowed 2022 Guggenheim Fellowships.

“CUNY congratulates these two remarkable members of our faculty whose dedication to their work and to their students represent the best of public higher education and highlights CUNY’s ongoing commitment to the humanities,” Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said.

The Guggenheim Fellowship is awarded to individuals who have grown in their field of expertise, particularly in the arts. This year, 180 people won out of the thousands that applied.

Wilmer earned a Bachelor of Arts in French and United States literature and history, a Master of Arts in history and adoctorate in the history of American civilization from Harvard University.

During his time at Harvard, he was involved in its newspaper, The Harvard Lampoon. His accomplishments in history and literature led to him finding his place at the White House.

Under former President Bill Clinton’s administration, he was assigned foreign policy speech writing and the title of senior advisor for Special Projects for history academia.

However, his experience as a professor did not begin within the CUNY system. In 2001, he was a professor at Washington College, where he founded the George Washington Book Prize. In 2006, he was employed at Brown University as a director and librarian, starting their virtual system.

His relationship with the Clintons granted him another stint for a year, this time under Hillary Clinton as a senior advisor.

In the following years, Widmer worked on and off in New York City and Washington D.C. These contributions included New York Times collaborations and recognition by the Library of Congress as a director.

As a current Macaulay professor, he is developing a new humanities lab.

“I’m deeply grateful to the Guggenheim Foundation for this fellowship, and all that they do to support path-breaking new work across the disciplines,” Widmer said.

Davis is a painter from Brooklyn. Her education includes a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute and a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College.

The inspiration for her art stems from finding correlations with “race, culture and history.” Her use of geography is intended to cause exploratory dialogue from the viewer.

Throughout Europe and America, she has presented solo exhibitions at the June Kelly Gallery and Gerald Peters Gallery in New York, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, Spanierman Modern in Miami and The Mayor Gallery in London.

Publications such as The Telegraph, The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer have endorsed her creations. Her awards include multiple artist fellowships and grants from known arts foundations.

She has lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Mellon University and Dartmouth College.

“It’s a major honor to be recognized by the Guggenheim Foundation,” Davis said. “After the number of years I’ve spent making paintings, it’s a serious affirmation.”

People can view her works at The Museum of Modern Art, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The J.Paul Getty Museum and more.

“The Guggenheim Fellowships recognize both past achievement and future promise, and professors Widmer and Davis are continuing in the tradition of CUNY faculty honoring us with their contributions to the intellectual and artistic vibrancy of our campuses and our city,” Matos Rodríguez said.