Professor honored with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Excellence Award

Suny New Paltz web portraits.Thomas Festa, associate professor and graduate director (English) at the State University of New York at New Paltz, has received the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Excellence in Scholarship Award.

According to Stella Deen, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Festa won the award on the basis of his record of first-rate publication and conference presentation in the fields of Milton studies and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literature.

“In addition to his distinguished scholarship, Professor Festa is an outstanding classroom instructor, one who engages students’ interest in seventeenth-century literature through his knowledge of and passion for his subject,” said Deen. “As Director of the Graduate Program in English, Professor Festa advises and mentors some 70 graduate students and leads his colleagues in curricular development.  He richly deserves the honor of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Excellence in Scholarship Award.”

In the past three years, Festa has published an anthology of women’s writing in the early modern period and eight articles on Milton, Spenser, and the poetic imagination. In addition, his scholarship has been included in prestigious volumes and has garnered national and international acclaim. The anthology “Early Modern Women on the Fall,” co-edited with Michelle M. Dowd, and published by Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in 2012, won the award for Best Teaching Edition of 2012 from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women.  In 2009, the John Donne Society recognized Festa’s outstanding scholarship with the John Donne Society Award for Distinguished Publication in Donne Studies.  Festa has recently been selected to edit the volumes of essays that emerge from the biennial conference on John Milton.

“I’m honored and delighted to be recognized by the College for my scholarship,” noted Festa. “It feels particularly gratifying to receive such positive attention from my colleagues in LA&S from across the disciplines.  I feel lucky to be able to teach at a supportive university that encourages research as well as teaching.

Festa holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Columbia University.