The award recognizes and honors a scholar for “outstanding research in curricular and/or co-curricular service learning which advances the field.” CCMA is the mid-Atlantic wing of Campus Compact, an organization co-founded by Georgetown, Stanford, and Brown Universities in 1985 to promote community engagement among institutions of higher education.
“It is inspiring to see a prodigious scholar like Professor Hirsh manifest such lifelong dedication to teaching and to social justice,” Georgetown College Dean Chris Celenza said.
An English literature expert with degrees from Boston College and Lehigh University, Hirsh has taught classes on Chaucer, medieval spiritual literature, and early American literature at Georgetown for nearly 50 years. He has held fellowships at Oxford University and Cambridge University, published 11 books, and contributed dozens of articles to academic journals.
But Hirsh did not limit his passion for teaching to Georgetown students alone: He was a primary faculty member in the Sursum Corda Project, a program founded in 1970 by a Gonzaga High School priest that recruited Georgetown students to tutor children at a drug- and poverty-stricken housing complex just off North Capitol Street. From 1989 until the Sursum Corda was slated for demolition in 2017, Hirsh served as Georgetown's lead for what was the longest-standing service program between an American university and a specific urban community.
Hirsh’s work with the Sursum Corda Project brought him into the academic disciplines of education and urban literacy. In addition to the tutoring workshop, he teaches education-related electives and has published books on urban education. He went on to help found more tutoring programs: The D.C.-based Catholic Schools Project and several similar organizations in London and Oxford.
Throughout his Georgetown career, Hirsh has been a model member of the faculty community, serving as an advisor for Marshall Scholarship applicants, a faculty committee member in the Office of International Programs, and an advocate for the renovation of Lauinger Library on the Library Committee.
“Georgetown College is honored to count Professor Hirsh as a colleague,” Celenza said.
Hirsh will join King and a delegation representing Georgetown to the CCMA President’s Institute ceremony on November 8 at Gallaudet University.