Anne McCants Receives the Kennan Award



Anne McCants, MacVicar Faculty Fellow, Professor of History, and Head of the History section, has received the Elizabeth Topham Kennan Award, given periodically, by Mount Holyoke College, to an outstanding alumna educator

The award is given to honor the service given to Mount Holyoke, and to 
education in general, by former Mount Holyoke president Elizabeth Topham Kennan ‘60.  Only the third recipient since the award's inception in 1995, Professor McCants received the honor on the occasion of her 25th reunion at Mount Holyoke.  


Citation from Mount Holyoke College

"Anne Conger McCants, class of 1984, your classroom teaching at MIT has been consistently lauded, you've demonstrated national leadership in the field of history, and your research has meet the highest standards, as judged by leading scholars in the field.

After earning your Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, where you were already recognized as an accomplished teacher, you joined the faculty at MIT.  Today, you are a full professor and head of the history faculty there, and teach courses in medieval and early-modern Europe, economic history, and women's history. Your very active scholarship is centered on issues in historical demography, early modern trade and consumption, and the standard of living in pre-industrial Europe.  Your published work, including a book on the economic status of orphans in seventeenth-century Amsterdam has won you national praise.

In the classroom, you teach an unusually wide variety of courses, covering all of Europe, and the entire period from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Industrial Revolution.  A colleague notes that your invigorating teaching about the pre-industrial world is 'a task especially important for [MIT] students with high-tech blinders.'

Whatever the time period or topic being considered, your sharp intellect engages students with intriguing questions such as 'How much did it cost to discover the New World.' In response, students have said that your 'excellent and captivating lectures' challenge their personal understanding of the world, and give them greater respect for the work historians do.

Your commitment is clearly not only to undergraduate education, but also the undergraduates themselves. You get to know them as individual people as well as individual intellects, and you [have served] as housemaster to residents of a graduate student dormitory.

For the many ways you touch students' lives, and for your service to the field of history, the Alumnae Association is pleased to present you with the Elizabeth Topham Kennan Award on your 25th reunion."

For more information

Medieval Tech

Profile of Anne McCants, 
Soundings Magazine 

History at MIT