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Professor Michael Friedman, Ph.D., is the 2017-18 recipient of the John L. Earl III Award.
The Earl Award is given annually to a member of The University community who has served The University in some way. The award is named after the late John Earl, Ph.D.
Earl was a history professor at The University from 1964-96.
Past recipients of this award include Linda Ledford-Miller (2009-10), Kevin M. Nordberg (2011-12), and Leonard Champney (2016-17).
“I’m very honored to be put into the same class as all the other people who have received this award in the past,” Friedman said. “All of my heroes have received this award, and I’m honored to be put into a category with them.”
Friedman has been very involved in serving The University community throughout his career at The University. Friedman has participated in the Faculty Mentor/Mentee Program and served on the Jesuit Identity Task Force as well as other various search committees.
“I think the thing that was most influential in terms of receiving the award was the service that I gave to the faculty union,” Friedman said.
Friedman served as an officer on the faculty union for 16 years. He was chair of the faculty union for the past 12 years.
“It meant that I spent a good deal of my day working on union issues,” Friedman said. “I was helping people with problems, giving advice, negotiating contracts and working on disputes that arose between the faculty and the administration.”
Friedman stepped down from the faculty union on June 1, 2017.
One area of study that Friedman is particularly passionate about is Shakespeare. He cites the Shakespearean professors he took in college as the people who helped him discover his interest in this subject.
“They gave me a real passion for the plays in performance,” Friedman said. “That’s how I study the plays, not just as pieces of writing on a page, but as a script for performance. A lot of my research has to do with the ways in which the plays have been performed over the years, either on stage or in television or in films.”
Friedman has published several scholarly articles and papers about Shakespeare. He also serves on the editorial board of the Shakespeare Bulletin and is a member of the International Committee of Correspondents of World Shakespeare Bibliography. Friedman is currently working on “Will,” a TNT drama series about William Shakespeare’s life.
Friedman has also performed in several University Players’ productions during his time at The University. Some of his favorite performances include Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.” Friedman even got to perform alongside his dog, who was cast as Crab, in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.”
“Now, most of my performing is that I sing with the a cappella group, the Octaves,” Friedman said.
Friedman and the Octaves have a concert during Parents’ Weekend.
Friedman graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and earned his master’s and doctorate from Boston University. Before becoming an English and theatre professor at The University, Friedman was a visiting assistant professor at St. John’s University in Minnesota.