Colleagues of Professor Emeritus of Russian Dan E. Davidson gathered recently at Bryn Mawr to recognize his 41 years of service to the College.
Prior to an evening reception, Davidson, Professor Emeritus of Russian on the Myra T. Cooley Lectureship, took part in a roundtable discussion on “America’s Languages: Examining the ‘Bilingual Advantage’ in the 21st Century.”
Moderated by Professor of Russian and current department chair Tim Harte, the discussion featured, in addition to Davidson, Richard Brecht, of the University of Maryland; Irina Dubinina, of Brandeis University, Tom Garza of the University of Texas, Austin; and Maria Shardakova, of Indiana University.
At the reception, Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy, Provost Mary Osirim, Harte, and others praised Davidson for building Bryn Mawr’s Russian program into one of the best-regarded in the nation.
"Wednesdays in the Bryn Mawr Russian Department will always have special meaning for so many of us," said Harte. "That was when Dan would swoop in from D.C. to teach and to lend the department a large dose of excitement and electricity. It wasn’t exactly a Potemkin village that we constructed each week for him, but Wednesdays always had a special feel to them."
Davidson received A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, and has studied as well at Bonn, Moscow State University and the Harvard Institute for Social Enterprise. He is author or editor of 44 books and more than 60 scholarly articles in the fields of language, culture, and educational development, including a major 20-year longitudinal investigation of adult second language acquisition in the overseas immersion context. He has directed or co-directed 36 Ph.D. dissertations in the field of Russian and second-language acquisition over his years at Bryn Mawr.
The event at Bryn Mawr came on the heels of a retirement gala for Davidson at American Councils for International Education, which Davidson founded in 1974.
Davidson founded American Councils with the goal of expanding educational exchanges with countries beyond the Iron Curtain. In the ensuing decades, American Councils grew from a small office in the Russian Department at Bryn Mawr into a large, global organization with 30 international offices and programs in more than 80 countries.