Neel Smith, professor and chair of the Department of Classics at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, has been selected as a 2019 Council on Undergraduate Research-Arts and Humanities Faculty Mentor Awardee. The award consists of a plaque and $1,000 for the recipient’s work with undergraduate researchers.

A member of the Holy Cross faculty since 1994, Smith was recognized for achievements over the last eight years as a research leader, scholar, teacher, and mentor to 38 Classics undergraduate researchers and more than 100 other students involved in the collaborative, interdisciplinary Homer Multitext Project and the Holy Cross College Manuscripts, Inscriptions, and Documents (MID) Club. His development of the Homer Multitext Project has engaged students from Holy Cross and other national and international institutions in the creation of digital, scholarly editions and notes for Homer’s Iliad. His service as faculty adviser for the MID Club has inspired students to engage in manuscript research in Classics as well as fields such as music and history. He earned a BA in classical archaeology from Harvard University and a PhD in classical archaeology from University of California, Berkeley.

Said CUR Executive Officer Elizabeth L. Ambos on behalf of the award selection committee, “Dr. Smith’s teaching, mentoring, and collaborative scholarship have created a culture of undergraduate research both on and off campus, distinguishing him as a transformative ‘culture changer’ in the advancement of undergraduate research in Classical studies as well as other fields in the arts and humanities.”

Said Margaret Freije, provost and dean of the College at Holy Cross. “Professor Smith is a remarkable mentor to Holy Cross students. He has a rare ability to inspire students to trust themselves, guiding them to successes that he knew they were capable of all along. His passion for his students and for Classics is evident in all his work. We are delighted for him and thankful to the Council on Undergraduate Research for recognizing his outstanding mentoring and leadership.”

The CUR-Arts and Humanities Faculty Mentor Awards were established in 2018 through an endowment by 2012 CUR Fellow Joyce Kinkead (Utah State University) to nurture undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry in arts and humanities disciplines.


The Council on Undergraduate Research supports faculty development for high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. More than 700 institutions and more than 13,000 individuals belong to CUR. CUR believes that the best way to capture student interest and create enthusiasm for a discipline is through research in close collaboration with faculty members.

The College of the Holy Cross is among the nation's leading liberal arts institutions. A highly selective, four-year, exclusively undergraduate college of 3,100 students, Holy Cross is renowned for offering a rigorous, personalized education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition. Since its founding in 1843, Holy Cross has made a positive impact in society by graduating students who distinguish themselves as thoughtful leaders in business, professional, and civic life.