BY NICK IRONSIDE // FEB. 21, 2013 //
Philosophy & Religion professor Les Muray is headed home to Hungary, this time with a prominent award in hand.
On Friday, Feb. 15, Muray was notified that he won a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to spend a semester abroad teaching and/or conducting researching. Muray applied for the scholarship in 1996, 1997 and 1998, but never before won.
“It’s really hard to describe,” said Muray about finally earning the honor. “It’s the crowning achievement of my career.”
The Fulbright Scholarship is awarded through a government-sponsored program that honors approximately 1,200 U.S. scholars, 1,600 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, and 900 visiting scholars, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals, each year. Named after the late J. William Fulbright, a former U.S. Senator from Arkansas, the international educational exchange program is sponsored through a division of the U.S. State Department.
Muray will conduct his studies in Budapest in the spring of 2014. According to an email sent to Curry faculty by the college’s interim dean of faculty, William Nancarrow, Muray will spend his time in Hungary researching French philosopher Henri Bergson’s influence on Mihaly Babits and Zsigmond Moricz. Nancarrow explained that Babits and Moricz were “two major figures in early twentieth century Hungarian literature.”
The Institute of Philosophy at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest will host Muray, who has taught at Curry for the past 12 years. Muray said he’s particularly excited to conduct research in his birth country.
“I go back to where I was born,” he said. “My dad’s second doctoral dissertation was on the same French philosopher, and I’m going to try and locate his dissertation. Most of my family is back in Hungary.”
Despite getting to spend a semester in Hungary, there are some aspects of the United States that Muray said he would miss.
“Boston is home,” he said. “I love Curry. It’s my intellectual base; I have very special colleagues and the students are very special.
“I’ve spent six months in Hungary on sabbatical before and I taught. It was wonderful, but I was surprised at the degree to which I missed my students [at Curry]. And I missed the Celtics and the Red Sox.” Muray owns season tickets to the Celtics.
Muray will be Curry’s third Fulbright Scholar. Joseph Schneider, an English professor who passed away in the early 2000s, was awarded the scholarship twice. He studied in Hungary in 1979 and in South Korea from 1990 to 1992.
Criminal Justice and Sociology professor Magueye Seck was the other Curry professor to have previously won the award. Seck earned the honor in 2006 to teach in his home country of Senegal.
Seck will find out in April if he has been awarded the scholarship for a second time. Nursing professor Susan LaRocco will also find out if her application has been accepted in April. She has applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to Ireland.