SMU anthropologist David Meltzer joins John Glenn, Martin Amis, Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen and other renowned leaders in various fields as a newly elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The class of 2013 will be inducted at a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The new fellows and foreign honorary members — representing the sciences, the humanities and the arts, business, public affairs and the nonprofit sector — join one of the world’s most prestigious honorary societies.
“I’m thrilled, honored and — after looking at when the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded and by whom, and who has been elected to membership over the years — more than a bit humbled by it all,” says Meltzer, the Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
Meltzer researches the origins, antiquity, and adaptations of the first Americans – Paleoindians – who colonized the North American continent at the end of the Ice Age. He focuses on how these hunter-gatherers met the challenges of moving across and adapting to the vast, ecologically diverse landscape of Late Glacial North America during a time of significant climate change.
Meltzer’s research has been supported by grants from the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, The Potts and Sibley Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution. In 1996, he received a research endowment from Joseph and Ruth Cramer to establish the Quest Archaeological Research Program at SMU, which will support in perpetuity research on the earliest occupants of North America.
Meltzer is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Charles Curran, SMU’s Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.
Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Members of the Academy’s 2013 class include winners of the Nobel Prize; National Medal of Science; the Lasker Award; the Pulitzer and the Shaw prizes; the Fields Medal; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; the Kennedy Center Honors; and Grammy, Emmy, Academy, and Tony awards.