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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Ilan Peleg Award established, awarded to 2 professors

Chip Bergh ’79 and Ilan Peleg have been friends for decades. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette College Flickr)

The inaugural Ilan Peleg Award, endowed by Chip Bergh ‘79, was awarded to two professors on March 28 in honor of Ilan Peleg, a professor of government and law. It was awarded to chemistry professor Chip Nataro and religious studies professor Erik Ziolkowski.

Peleg, who has taught at the college since 1974, said he was “very humbled” to have the award named for him. The award is intended to highlight a faculty member who has shown extraordinary mentorship and support for Lafayette students. The Lafayette was not told the monetary value of the award after multiple requests for comment.

The idea for the award came from Bergh himself.

“I wanted to create some sort of faculty award that acknowledged excellence in not just teaching, but advising and mentoring and staying in touch with students … and it’s to honor [Peleg],” he said.

Bergh was a student of Peleg’s. The pair have remained close for the past 45 years. 

Much of Peleg’s work at the college has been dedicated to mentoring students both inside and outside of the classroom.

“The faculty is deeply interested in the wellbeing of the students,” he said. “This is what I’ve tried to do.”

“To know that I have been and continue to be able to help guide students in finding their intellectual passion and reach their full potential is incredibly rewarding and deeply motivating,” Nataro, one of the recipients, wrote in an email. 

Nataro added that his own students, both current and past, attended the ceremony last week.

Ziolkowski, the second recipient of the award, echoed Nataro’s statement.

“I am humbled by this award,” Ziolkowski wrote in an email. “Mentoring individual students, whether as their academic advisor out as their advisor of honor theses or independent study projects, is something I have always enjoyed immensely.”

The award’s establishment comes in tandem with the establishment of the Bergh Family Fellows Program, which was announced in October 2022.

Recipients of the award are determined through recommendations by faculty, students and a committee of alumni. Following the presentation ceremony in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, a dinner was held celebrating the recipients, joined by Peleg, Bergh and college President Nicole Hurd. 

“I think this is what Lafayette is all about,” Peleg said in reference to the award’s purpose.

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