Friday, December 15, 2017 - 09:30

Professor Lazar Named President of Local Archaeological Institute

For the second consecutive term of leadership, an Assumption College professor will serve as president of the Worcester chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).

Associate Professor of History Lance Lazar, Ph.D., will assume the position of president following the retirement of Barbara Beall-Fofana, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Art History at Assumption, who served in the position for seven years. While he only became an AIA member this year, Prof. Lazar has actively promoted AIA events and contributed to the organization since 2011.  Since Prof. Lazar also serves as Director of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program at Assumption, his contributions have included co-sponsoring the AIA’s spring lectures, which often focus on medieval castles, for the past three years.  

Sharing his vision for the AIA, Lazar intends to “continue the mutually beneficial [lecture] series, while expanding the AIA integration with undergraduate courses and students at Assumption. The lectures have frequently been standing room only affairs, but with the new Jeanne Y. Curtis  Performance Hall, the College can comfortably accommodate larger audiences for insightful discussions on topics of interest to the broader community.”

The lecture series sponsored by the AIA is a meaningful endeavor for Central Massachusetts. Scholars with international reputations and extensive experience on archaeological excavations in Europe, North Arica, and Asia present their innovative research in lectures appealing to general audiences. Timely topics such as the destruction of cultural artifacts by ISIS in Syria, or the remarkable discovery of the remains of King Richard III under a parking lot in England, bring both dramatic and relevant angles to history. 

Ellen Perry, Ph.D., former professor in the Classics Department at the College of the Holy Cross, will serve as vice president of the AIA Worcester chapter.  

Prof. Beall-Fofana retired as professor in the College’s Art History Department at Assumption College in 2011.  She also served as the Chair of the Department of Art, Music and Theater at Assumption for a decade. Since 2013, Professor Beall-Fofana has been teaching as a visiting professor at Clark University.

Professor Lazar received his bachelor degree from Dartmouth College, Summa cum laude, a year at the Università degli studi di Bologna, Italy, and M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. His book on Italian popular devotion, Working in the Vineyard of the Lord: Jesuit Confraternities in Early Modern Italy (Toronto: UTP, 2005) won the American Catholic Historical Association’s Howard R. Marraro Prize. Dr. Lazar has received fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the Rotary Foundation, and the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation. He has been an invited lecturer at American Colleges as well as the Andrea Palladio International Center for Architectural Studies in Vicenza, Italy and Venice International University on the island of San Servolo in Venice.

The Archaeological Institute of America is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1879. The mission of the Institute is to promote “archaeological inquiry and public understanding of the material record of the human past to foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and our shared humanity.” The AIA also aims to support archaeologists in their research and practice as well as to educate as many as possible about the importance of archaeological discovery. Throughout its 110 local chapters across the United States, Canada and Europe, the AIA has more than 200,000 members dedicated to helping them achieve their mission.

Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College @AssumptionNews