Awards and Honors, Faculty News

Bennington Faculty Member and Alum Awarded 2023 Guggenheim Fellowships

Bennington College Film-Video faculty member Mariam Ghani and Choreographer Liz Lerman ’69 are recipients of the prestigious 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship. They are among more than 100 Bennington-associated Guggenheim Fellows to have been awarded throughout both organizations’ histories.

Image of Guggenheim logo

The 2023 awards were given to a diverse group of 171 Fellows comprising writers, scholars, artists, and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 2,500 applicants in the Foundation’s 98th competition.

Mariam Ghani is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. She has exhibited and screened at the Guggenheim, MoMA, Met Breuer, and Queens Museum in New York, among many others. She has received a number of fellowships, awards, grants, and residencies, most recently from Creative Capital, Art Matters, the 18th Street Arts Center in Los Angeles, and others. She was the recipient of the Center for Constitutional Rights’ inaugural Changemaker Storyteller award in 2017 and has taught in prestigious programs around the world, including Pratt and Washington University in St. Louis, New York University, Queens College, Otis, the Beirut Art Center, Townhouse in Cairo, ProArte in St. Petersburg, and CCAA in Kabul. She joined the Bennington faculty in Fall 2018. 

Liz Lerman ’69 founded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and cultivated the company’s unique multi-generational ensemble into a leading force in contemporary dance until 2011, when she handed the artistic leadership of the company over to the next generation of Dance Exchange artists. Throughout her career, she has served in many roles including as an artist-in-residence at Harvard University, an Institute Professor at Arizona State University, and as a collaborator on The National Civil War Project. 

In all, forty-eight scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, seventy-two different academic institutions, twenty-four states and the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from thirty-one to eighty-five. Close to fifty Fellows have no current full-time college or university affiliation. Many Fellows’ projects directly respond to issues like the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, democracy and policing, scientific innovation, climate change, and identity. 

“Like Emerson, I believe that fullness in life comes from following our calling,” said Edward Hirsch, President of the Guggenheim Foundation and 1985 Fellow in Poetry. “The new class of Fellows has followed their calling to enhance all of our lives, to provide greater human knowledge and deeper understanding. We’re lucky to look to them to bring us into the future.”

Created in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted nearly $400 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors. 

“I am so delighted with Mariam’s and Liz’s achievements and offer them both my hearty congratulations,” said Laura Walker, President of Bennington College. “They are extraordinary examples of the rigorous creativity and resounding impact Bennington strives to cultivate and amplify here on our beautiful Vermont campus and around the world.”   

For more information on the Fellows and their projects, please visit the Foundation’s website.

Guggenheim Fellowships by Bennington Alumni and/or Faculty Members:

2022: Colin Brant, visiting faculty member; Melissa Febos, former Bennington Writing Seminars faculty member; Michael Pollan '76

2020: J. Blackwell, faculty; Jenny Boully, MFAW faculty; Helen Mirra '91; Garth Greenwall, visiting writer.

2019: Carmen Giménez Smith, former faculty; Karen Hartman, former faculty; Christopher Merrill, former MFA faculty; Sam Pluta, former faculty

2018: Amy Gerstler MFA '00

2017: Fiona Maazel MFA ’02; Elana Herzog '76; Jen Liu, faculty; Melinda Ring MFA '01

2014: Claire Vaye Watkins, former MFA faculty; Pier Consagra, former visiting artist

2013: J. C. Hallman, former MFA faculty; Major Jackson, former MFA faculty; Ann Pibal, faculty; Carlin Romano, former faculty; Cora Cohen '64; Anne Waldman '66; Carrie Moyer '82; Terese Svoboda, former faculty 

2012: Lia Purpura, former MFA visiting writer; Benjamin Taylor, former faculty 

2011: Patricia Volk, former MFA faculty; Jonathan Haynes, former faculty; DD Dorvillier '89

2010: Mary Lum, faculty; Peter Trachtenberg, MFA faculty; Marta Ptaszyńska, former faculty; Sarah Stanbury '71

2009: Ralph Lemon, former faculty 

2008: Michael Burkard, former MFA faculty; Ann Goldstein '71; Laurie R. Godfrey '67; Myrna Packer '74; Reginald Shepherd ’88; Martha Graham, former faculty 

2007: Maria Flook, former MFA faculty 

2006: Yoko Inoue, faculty; Douglas G. Biow '79

2005: Mark Slouka, former MFA faculty; Henri Cole, former faculty 

2003: April Bernard, MFA faculty 

2002: Mary L. Ruefle '74, former faculty; Nicholas Brooke, faculty; Ralph Lee, former faculty

2001: Brian Morton, former MFA faculty; George Packer, former MFA faculty 

2000: Amy Hempel, MFA faculty; Milford Graves, former faculty

1999: Bernard Cooper, former MFA faculty; Susan Rethorst '74

1998: David Gates, current MFA faculty; Ain Gordon, former faculty; Barbara Bloom '72; Kenji Fujita ’78; Judith Butler '78

1995: Eve Sussman '84

1994: Sven Birkerts, MFA faculty; Kevin E. Bubriski MFA ’97; Sidney Tillim, former faculty; Andrew Spence, former faculty 

1993: Kathleen Norris ’69

1991: David M. Brody ’81

1990: Lynn Freed, former MFA faculty; Dr. Bonnie Costello '72

1989: Pamela Avril Tucker MA ’80

1988: David Gates, MFA faculty; Phillip Lopate, former MFA faculty; Gretel Ehrlich '67

1987: David Gordon, former faculty; Alec J. Wilkinson '74; Liz Phillips '73; Sally Mann '71

1985: Liam Rector, former Director of Bennington Writing Seminars and faculty; Brower Hatcher, former faculty; Arturo Vivante, former faculty; Deirdre Bair, former faculty 

1984: Susan Cheever, MFA faculty; Lynne Sharon Schwartz, MFA faculty

1983: Cynthia Lee Macdonald '50

1982: Laura Furman '68

1981: Sara Rudner MFA ’99

1980: Mary Oliver, former faculty 

1980: Vivian Fine, former faculty 

1978: Elizabeth Swados '73

1977: Kathryn Posin ’65; Joan Tower '61; Barbara Herrnstein Smith, former faculty 

1975: Edward Hoagland, former MFA faculty; Pril Smiley’65

1974: Jill Hoffman '59

1972: Donald Hall, former MFA faculty

1970: Patricia Johanson '62; Eugene Goossens, former faculty 

1969: Stanley Edgar Hyman, former faculty 

1968: Howard Nemerov, former faculty 

1967: Alwin Nikolais '40

1964: Edward Hoagland, former MFA faculty 

1963: Donald Hall, former MFA faculty

1959: Helen F. Codere, former faculty 

1946: Henry Brant, former faculty 

1945: Ben Belitt, former faculty 

1942: W. H. Auden, former faculty

1937: Robert G. McBride, former faculty 

1935: Kenneth Burke, former faculty 

1928: Léonie Adams, former faculty