Heineman, Perry Win Teaching Honors

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

History Department faculty members Prof. John Heineman and Assoc. Prof. Thomas Perry, who between them have 67 years of teaching experience at Boston College, have been presented with the Phi Beta Kappa Annual Teaching Award.

The award is given by students in the Boston College chapter of the academic honor society to faculty members who have achieved distinction as teachers and advisors. Heineman, who began his BC career in 1963, and Perry, who arrived on campus the following year, are the eighth and ninth recipients of the Phi Beta Kappa award since it began in 1990.

Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award winners Prof. John Heineman (History) and Assoc. Prof. Thomas Perry (History). "I have extraordinary gratitude for receiving this award, because it comes from students," said Heineman. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Perry said the award affirms the central importance of teaching in the University.

"For many years, BC's sole academic mission was the teaching of undergraduates," said Perry, who is retired but continues to teach a core honors course in modern European history. "Today, BC has become a major university, with a number of missions and purposes. It is important to have reminders, such as this yearly award, that teaching the fine young men and women who make up our undergraduate body, though no longer our sole mission, must remain our central and primary one."

Heineman said he prized the honor because it had been given by students in recognition of his teaching, which he termed his "greatest love."

"I'm very much aware that my function up there is to inform, partially to entertain, partially to inspire," he said, "but also to give them a model of analysis of how a reasonably intelligent person can look at data and make sense of it. I have extraordinary gratitude for receiving this award, because it comes from students, who have sat through Tom's and my classes and deemed us good at what we think we're good at."

Assoc. Prof. Richard Tresch (Economics), the Phi Beta Kappa chapter president, said, "John and Tom are frequently mentioned together because of their team-taught core course in European history, which was already legendary when I arrived at BC, and has remained so ever since.

"Their upper-level electives have always been as popular as their core course and they have long been praised by the thesis-writing students in history as superb advisors," Tresch said. "These guys really, really care about teaching."

Heineman graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1957 and did graduate work at the Free University of Berlin and Heidelberg University in Germany before receiving his doctorate from Cornell University in 1965. He served as department chairman from 1970-76, and moderator of the history core from 1965-70 and 1980-92. He was named a full professor in 1979.

Heineman's research interests include modern Germany, the Third Reich, European intellectual and cultural history, and film and history. His major publications include Hitler's First Foreign Minister: Constantin Freiherr von Neurath and Readings in European History: A Collection of Primary Sources .

Perry received his undergraduate degree in 1950 and his doctorate in 1957 from Harvard University. His areas of academic specialization include English history, early modern Europe, and the intellectual and cultural history of modern Europe. He is the author of Public Opinion, Propaganda and Politics in Eighteenth-Century England: A Study of the Jew Bill of 1753 , and of numerous reviews in academic journals.

Perry has been active in departmental and University committees during his career, serving on faculty panels that examined the University's core requirements and student issues.

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