Two Emory professors have been named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) this year, according to the organization’s website.
Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Radiology Helen Mayberg and Charles Howard Professor of New Testament Carl Holladay are two of the 228 individuals elected to the Academy this year.
Described by their colleagues as some of the most generous, thoughtful and innovative scholars in their respective disciplines, Mayberg and Holladay are now in the company of academics including Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Stephen Hawking.
Holladay joined the Candler School of Theology’s faculty in 1980. He received his bachelor’s degree in religion from Abilene Christian University (Texas) in 1964, completed a theological seminary at Princeton University (N.J.) in 1969 and earned his Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Cambridge (England) in 1974. Holladay served as the associate academic dean of Candler from 1985 to 1995.
Professor in the Practice of New Testament Interpretation Steven Kraftchick, who was a student member of the search committee in 1980 that brought Holladay to Emory, and worked as a teaching assistant for Holladay, describes him as someone who doesn’t take things for granted.
“For him to get this award is terrific,” Kraftchick said. “It’s a great recognition of somebody who is not a flashy person [especially] in today’s culture where it’s personality driven.”
Megan Henning (13G) remembered Holladay as a teacher who set high standards and delighted in sharing the critical discoveries he made with his students.
“He always wanted to involve his students in the exciting research that he was doing and also to help us be a part of the scholarly conversation — to think about what it is that the Academy has to offer to the world,” Henning said.
Carol Newsom, a member of the AAAS and professor of New Testament at Emory, said that Holladay deserves the recognition because of the diversity of his work. One project that stood out to Newsom was Holladay’s work collecting lost Jewish manuscripts and passages over the course of his career that have been significant contributions to the field.
“It is one of these unexpected honors that comes one’s way and so it’s quite thrilling to see someone that you’ve worked with all of this time and whose work you respect so much receive that kind of unusual honor,” Newsom said.
Mayberg arrived at Emory in 2004. She received her bachelor’s in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and received her M.D. from the University of Southern California. A board certified neurologist, Mayberg trained at the Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University.
Professor of Pedagogy Barbara Patterson, a friend and colleague of both Mayberg and Holladay, said she believes that the two scholars take a real interest in the people in their lives in both their professional and personal relationships. Holladay leads his department in receiving grants that have brought millions of dollars to the Candler Ph.D. program, Patterson said. Most notably, he led the team that received millions from the Lilly Endowment, a private philanthropic foundation that supports religious education.
Patterson recalled a Candler Ph.D. student interested in getting to know Mayberg because of her pioneering work on depression. Mayberg was more than willing to find a role within her lab that he would thrive in, Patterson said.
“The next thing I know, he’s working in Helen’s [Mayberg] lab and she’s helping him think about things he could do for his interest in her lab,” Patterson said.
However, Mayberg doesn’t consider herself a mentor — rather, she sees herself as someone who learns from her students as much as they learn from her.