headshots of Sylvia Önder and Heidi Hamilton
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Önder, Hamilton Receive Faculty Awards at Tropaia and Faculty of Languages and Linguistics Ceremonies

Two esteemed professors were honored during the annual Tropaia and Faculty of Languages and Linguistics (FLL) Ceremonies on Saturday. Sylvia Önder was awarded the Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Award for Faculty Excellence and Heidi Hamilton received the annual FLL Service Award.


The Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Award for Faculty Excellence was established in 1967 to honor Rev. Edward B. Bunn, S.J., for his years of devotion and service to Georgetown University as president and chancellor. Each year, the senior class selects a faculty member to receive the Bunn Award, and it is presented during the College Tropaia Exercises.

This year’s winner was Sylvia Önder, teaching faculty in Turkish and Anthropology and head of the Turkish Program.

In her speech, Önder reflected on the many ways that she had witnessed her students thrive despite the pandemic and encouraged the class of 2021 to celebrate their many accomplishments. 

“This year, from on campus, around the country and all over the world, Georgetown students have shown that they are fierce when they need to be – calling out Racism and Islamophobia, building and strengthening needed networks such as the Asian-Pacific Islander Leadership Forum,” says Önder. “…You should be so proud of what you have accomplished and feel energized and confident about what you can do in the next phase of your life.”

FLL Service Award

The Faculty of Languages and Linguistics Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to a member of the FLL faculty who has made extraordinary contributions to the programs and mission of the FLL through his or her research, teaching, and service to the community. This year, Heidi Hamilton, a professor in the Department of Linguistics. 

“Recognizing her many contributions to the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, Georgetown University, and to all concerned with discourses of health and illness, we are proud to recognize Prof. Heidi Hamilton with the 2021 FLL Service Award,” says Lisa Zsiga, chair of the Linguistics department. 

During her speech, Hamilton spoke of the importance of branching out from what is known and gaining knowledge from other languages and cultures. She recited an excerpt from a collection of letters Briefe an einen jungen Dichter (Letters to a Young Poet) that emphasized the beauty of patience and inquisitiveness. 

“Rilke’s words embody my hope for you, dear graduates, as you take the next steps in your life, that you can remain patient in the understanding that the uncertain, puzzling, and unpredictable nature of the problems you’re passionate about will keep you attentive, will keep you listening and looking,” says Hamilton. “I know I speak for my faculty colleagues when I express my gratitude to you for sharing your time, creativity, intelligence, and boundless enthusiasm for life with all of us — both inside and outside the classroom. By deciding to dedicate your years at Georgetown to the study of languages and linguistics — either as your singular focus or in connection with other fields — you have chosen to problematize and to amplify your engagement with the world.”

-by Shelby Roller (G’19)