NOBEL PRIZE WINNER ELIE WIESEL TO BE HAMILTON'S GREAT NAMES SPEAKER THIS SPRING
Wiesel's presentation in the Great Names series follows talks by former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell and political strategists Mary Matalin and James Carville. While on campus, he will participate in a class and meet students and faculty for dinner and a reception.
A native of Sighet, Transylvania (Romania), Wiesel and his family were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz when he was 15. His mother and younger sister died there. He and his father were later transported to Buchenwald where his father died beside him. His personal experience of the Holocaust led him to use his talents as an author, teacher and storyteller to defend human rights and peace throughout the world.
Wiesel's efforts have earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Liberty Award, and the rank of Grand Officer in the French Legion of Honor. In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He has received more than 75 honorary degrees from leading universities and colleges.
The author of more than 35 books, Wiesel has won the Prix Medicis, the Prix Livre Inter and the Grand Prize for Literature from the City of Paris. His first book, La Nuit (Night) has been translated into 25 languages. Other books include A Beggar in Jerusalem, The Testament, The Fifth Son, and Sages and Dreamers.
In his 1995 memoirs, "All Rivers Run to the Sea," Wiesel recounts his experiences at Buchenwald, its liberation by American troops, and his days as a man without a country. "The refugee's time is measured in visas, his biography in stamps on his documents. Though he has
done nothing illegal, he is sure he is being followed. How well I understood Socrates, who preferred death to exile."
Wiesel became a U.S. citizen in 1963. President Jimmy Carter appointed him chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, and later as founding chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He has been the distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies at the City University of New York, and the first Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in the Humanities and Social Thought at Yale.
Since 1976, he has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University where he also holds the title of university professor. He lives in New York with his wife Marion and son Elisha.