NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- Bethel College Alumni Association will honor two outstanding alumni at the college’s alumni banquet May 22 on campus. Alfred Habegger, Enterprise, Ore., will receive the Distinguished Achievement Award. Leo Driedger, Winnipeg, Man., Canada, will receive the Outstanding Alumnus Award. The awards have been presented annually since 1960. Alfred Habegger Distinguished Achievement Award 2004
Bethel College honors Alfred Habegger, Enterprise, Ore., for his scholarly contributions to 19th century literature. A Reedley, Calif., native, Habegger graduated from Bethel College with a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and earned his doctorate in English in 1967 at Stanford University.
He taught undergraduate and graduate courses for 30 years in the English department at the University of Kansas and received numerous fellowships for research. In 1996 he retired from his professorship to pursue a career as an independent scholar and writer.
Habegger is known for his books on two 19th century authors, poet Emily Dickinson and novelist Henry James. Habegger’s most recent book, the 764-page "My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson" (Random House, 2001) received critical acclaim and was recognized as a top nonfiction book by Publishers Weekly, Amazon.com, NPR’s "Fresh Air," Washington Post Book World, New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review and Boston Globe. It won the 2002 Oregon Book Award in Literary Nonfiction. It is available as a Modern Library paperback. Writers and scholars consider "My Wars" the new standard biography of Emily Dickinson.
His other books include "The Father: A Life of Henry James, Sr." (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994, 2002), "Henry James and the ‘Woman Business’" (Cambridge University Press, 1989, 1994) and "Gender, Fantasy, and Realism in American Literature" (Columbia University Press, 1982). Habegger’s next book will be a historical study of "The King and I."
Habegger has also written stories, articles, essays, notes and reviews. Since the publication of his award-winning Dickinson book, he has lectured at dozens of conferences, colleges and universities in the United States, England and Japan.
He is married to Nellie Jean Weaver. They have two children, Simon and Eliza.
Leo Driedger Outstanding Alumnus Award 2004
Bethel College honors Leo Driedger, Winnipeg, Man., Canada, for his academic career in sociology as well as his writings and church work.
A Saskatoon, Sask., native, Driedger completed his bachelor’s degree at Bethel College in 1954, his master’s degree at the University of Chicago, his divinity degree from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., and his doctoral degree at Michigan State University. He taught sociology at the University of Manitoba and recently was named professor emeritus after 32 years of service. His teaching focused on minority relations, urban sociology and the sociology of religion.
In addition to his 20 books, he has published 120 refereed articles in major sociology journals and has served in many editorial, review and consulting capacities.
His newest books include "Ethnicity and Race: Finding Identities and Equalities" (Oxford University Press, 2003), "Race and Racism: Canadian Challenge 2000" (with Shiva Halli, McGill-Queens University Press, 2000), "Immigrant Canada: Demographic, Economic and Social Challenges" (with Shiva Halli, University of Toronto Press, 1999) and "Mennonites in the Global Village" (University of Toronto Press, 2000).
Driedger’s research was recognized in 1997 by the Royal Society of Canada, where he became a Fellow. In 1999 he received the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association Outstanding Achievement Award at the Congress of Learned Societies meetings in Quebec and in 2003 the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Anabaptist Sociology and Anthropology Association meetings in Michigan.
Church work took Driedger to 100 countries when he served on Mennonite Central Committee, Conference of Mennonites in Canada and General Conference Mennonite Church executive boards.
Driedger is married to Darlene Koehn, Bethel College class of 1957, and they are members of Charleswood Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.