November 23, 2014  

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Danforth Named Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year

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Dr. Marie Danforth

Dr. Marie Danforth, professor of anthropology, was recently named The University of Southern Mississippi’s “Teacher of the Year” by the Mississippi Humanities Council.

On Monday, Nov. 19 Danforth will present her award-winning research entitled, "La Fin Du Voyage:  Bioarchaeology, History and the French Colonial Experience."  The lecture will be held in the Liberal Arts Building’s Gonzales Auditorium (room 108) at 5 p.m. 

The Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC) is a private nonprofit corporation funded by Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities. MHC sponsors, supports and conducts a wide range of programs designed to promote understanding of our cultural heritage, interpret our own experience, foster critical thinking, encourage reasonable public discourse, strengthen our sense of community, thus empowering Mississippi's people with a vision for the future.

As one of the country’s leading bioarchaeologists, Danforth will discuss her excavations of two 18thcentury sites.  One of the sites, located in Biloxi, served as a staging area for immigrants brought to settle the Gulf Coast. The other, at Fort Michilimackinac in Michigan, reflected a more diverse population of French and Native American fur traders and soldiers.  

“We are using information gained from the skeleton, which arguably provides an unbiased record of an individual's dietary, health and activity patterns, which can then be compared with what is described in the historic archives,” Danforth said. 

A member of the Southern Miss faculty since 1987, Dr. Danforth was chosen for her ability to engage and challenge her students, whether in a large lecture hall or in one-on-one mentoring.  Her students describe her as demanding, but caring and always happy to help them as they prepare for a world beyond their university education.

“We could not be more pleased for Dr. Danforth in being named Mississippi Humanities Council’s Teacher of the Year,” said Dr. Steven Moser, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.  “Her enthusiasm for developing the connections between the humanities and natural sciences for her students is unmatched and they credit Dr. Danforth for making these academically challenging courses interesting and exciting."

In addition to having her work recognized by the university with a reception, Dr. Danforth was awarded a $500 honorarium, and she will also be honored in March at a ceremony in Jackson alongside other award recipients from across the state. 

Dr. Amy Miller, chair of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, also praised Danforth’s achievements and contributions. “We’re very lucky to have Dr. Danforth at the university, and I invite and encourage members of the community to attend her lecture, which will be enlightening and entertaining.”