Linville, Lemons receive 2012 Mizell Award
April 26, 2012
The Mizell Award was established to recognize an educator at Oxford College who has made superior contributions in furthering the educations of Oxford students. Co-recipients for the 2012 award are Kent Linville, dean of academic affairs, and Clark Lemons, professor of English. In a ceremony on April 20 to announce the winners, Dean of Oxford College Stephen H. Bowen delivered the following remarks:
The Mizell Award was established to honor Robert Cotter Mizell and Louise Felker Mizell whose lives were devoted to improving the quality of education at Emory University. The Award is to recognize an educator at Oxford College who has made superior contributions in furthering the educations of Oxford students.
In selecting the recipients for this year's Mizell Award, I have focused on the virtue of Kindness.
Kindness is central to all the world's great religions. It is perhaps the overarching virtue of Buddhism. The Dalai Lama has written, simply and profoundly, that "my religion is kindness". In the Talmud it is written that "deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments." Oxford College Chaplain Lyn Pace recently told me that one of his favorite verses from the New Testament is Colossians 3:12 - "As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience."
Kindness may seem to be an unlikely virtue to celebrate in an academic institution where we privilege sharp edged reason, objective fact, and abstract ideas and principles. Yet, there is nothing about kindness that is incompatible with intellectual rigor. As we mature as scholars and progress, hopefully, from knowledge to wisdom, we come to understand both our limited ability to know the truth and that truth alone is not our only concern. Kindness is grounded in our concern for individual persons whose needs must be balanced with an ideal of the greater good. Without kindness, there can be no genuine community. I believe that, more than most academic communities, kindness is valued and perhaps even expected in Oxford College.
Kindness may be practiced as the absence of a vice - to avoid being unkind. Or, kindness may be a response - to respond with kindness. But kindness can also be a generous, active practice - to actively approach others in kindness. The two individuals to be recognized today as exemplars of kindness within Oxford College are individuals who practice kindness actively. I will not offer examples because each of you who has been at Oxford for a while will have your own examples which are particularly meaningful to you. But each of us understands that their generous, active kindness has done much to sustain the exceptionally supportive Oxford College Community.
The recipients of the Mizell Award are Clark Lemons and Kent Linville.