SMC English Professor Brenda Hillman Elected To American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Brenda HillmanSaint Mary's Olivia Filippi Professor of Poetry​ Brenda​ Hillman has been elected to the American Academy of Arts And Sciences. Founded in 1780, the American Academy is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. A ​nationally celebrated poet, Hillman is among 288 new Academy members, who include international and national scholars, artists, philanthropists, and business leaders.

“The American  Academy of Arts and Sciences is a venerated institution with a very prestigious history, said Hillman. “I’m deeply grateful to join such a great group from so many disciplines. Members have included such artists as T.S. Eliot, Duke Ellington, and Eudora Welty. I’m honored to have been chosen, and hope to make Saint Mary’s College proud by being a member of the Academy.”

Professor Hillman is the author of nine collections of poetry: White Dress, Fortress, Death Tractates, Bright Existence, Loose Sugar, Cascadia, Pieces of Air in the Epic, Practical Water, for which she won the LA Times Book Award for Poetry, and Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire, which received the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Northern California Book Award for Poetry.

Among the awards Hillman has received are the 2012 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the 2005 William Carlos Williams Prize for poetry, and Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2016 she was named an Academy of American Poets Chancellor.

"We're extremely proud of Professor Hillman and gratified that she has been honored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,” said Saint Mary’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Bethami Dobkin. “This recognition underscores both the Saint Mary's commitment to the liberal arts and the importance of the humanities in addressing some of our greatest global challenges."

Hillman is part of the American Academy’s class of 2017, whose other members includes philanthropist and singer-songwriter John Legend, award-winning actress Carol Burnett, chairman of the board of Xerox Corporation Ursula Burns, mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, immunologist James P. Allison, and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

“In a tradition reaching back to the earliest days of our nation, the honor of election to the American Academy is also a call to service,” said Academy President Jonathan F. Fanton. “Through our projects, publications, and events, the Academy provides members with opportunities to make common cause and produce the useful knowledge for which the Academy’s 1780 charter calls.”

American Academy of Arts and Sciences members contribute to Academy publications and studies in science, engineering, and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts, and education; and American institutions and the public good.

The Academy’s 237th class include winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Wolf Prize; MacArthur Fellows; Fields Medalists; Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients; and Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 7, 2017, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information about the American Academy of Arts and Sciences visit