University News

Philosophy prize honors beloved professor Anthony Lisska

July 21, 2023

A prize endowed by Denison University will honor Emeritus Professor Anthony (Tony) Lisska (1940-2022) by recognizing the positive impact of a philosophy professor on a liberal arts campus. The Anthony J. Lisska Prize for Excellence in Research and Teaching at Small Liberal Arts Colleges will be offered through the American Philosophical Association (APA) and will award $1,000 annually. It is the first APA prize offered only to liberal arts college professors.

Lisska was a member of Denison’s faculty for more than 50 years. He chaired the philosophy department three times, launched an honors program, and was named Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year. The university’s Lisska Center for Intellectual Engagement was named to recognize his special focus on and contributions to the intellectual life of the Denison community.

“The Lisska Prize represents excellence in the life of the mind, which is the core value of a liberal arts college,” said Denison President Adam Weinberg. “We help students develop the capacity and passion for thinking and talking about issues in deep ways. Nobody represented this ethos more than Tony. He was a dedicated, challenging, and supportive mentor to Denison students and his faculty colleagues.”

Lisska believed philosophy could enhance every academic discipline, said Sam Cowling, a philosophy professor and chair of the department. “For Tony, the role of philosophy is to examine the question of how we should live our lives by using a logical framework that offers us ways to take part in rational debate.”

Lisska’s reach extended far beyond Denison’s campus. He evaluated curriculum projects for the National Endowment for the Humanities and was a founding member of the National Association of Fellowship Advisors. Closer to home, he served as president of the Granville Foundation and was a long-standing member of the Granville Historical Society, writing and presenting often on Granville’s regional history.

“Tony was more than a hometown hero. He deserves to be nationally recognized,” Cowling said. “This prize honors him and reflects his legacy as a scholar and a teacher.”

More about the Anthony J. Lisska Prize for Excellence in Research and Teaching at Small Liberal Arts Colleges:

The American Philosophical Association administers the Anthony J. Lisska Prize for Excellence in Research and Teaching at Small Liberal Arts Colleges, which is sponsored by Denison University, where Lisska taught for 52 years. A highly regarded Aquinas scholar, Lisska published Aquinas’s Theory of Natural Law (Oxford, 1998) and Aquinas’s Theory of Perception (Oxford, 2016). His profound impact on Denison was recognized with the dedication of the Lisska Center for Intellectual Engagement in 2016. The Anthony J. Lisska Prize will be awarded annually in recognition of exemplary contributions to the scholarly mission of small liberal arts colleges through accomplishment in both philosophical research and pedagogical achievement.

The prize winner will receive a $1,000 award and a commemorative plaque presented during the annual prize reception at an APA divisional meeting.

Submissions are open for the inaugural Anthony J. Lisska Prize. The submission deadline is Oct. 15, 2023.

For more information about the prize and to submit a nomination, visit the Anthony J. Lisska Prize page.

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