North Central College event celebrates 1890 alumnus James Henry Breasted, Ph.D.

Feb 20, 2013

North Central College alumni can meet President Troy D. Hammond Feb. 22 during an event that celebrates the legacy of a prominent alumnus.

The College’s Board of Trustees is hosting a reception as part of Hammond’s Inaugural Tour at the Oriental Institute, founded by noted Egyptologist James Henry Breasted, a member of the class of 1890. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at the Oriental Institute Museum, 1155 E. 58th St., Chicago. Cost is $10 per person; RSVP to the Office of Alumni Relations at 630-637-5200 or

The evening will include a program featuring remarks by Hammond and Emily Teeter, research associate and special exhibits coordinator at the Institute; an exhibit viewing in the Marshall and Doris Holleb Family Special Exhibits Gallery; and a dessert reception in the Edgar and Deborah Jannotta Mesopotamian Gallery.

Breasted (1865-1935) was at the forefront of the generation of archaeologist-historians who broadened the idea of Western Civilization to include the entire Near East in Europe’s cultural roots. He helped define the “Fertile Crescent” to describe the archaeologically important area including parts of present-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Israel. He was the first American citizen to obtain a Ph.D. in Egyptology, which he earned in 1894 from the University of Berlin.

Later, he was the first professor in the United States to hold the title of Professor of Egyptology and Oriental History, to which he was promoted in 1905 at the University of Chicago. He founded the Oriental Institute in 1919. In 1923 he became the first archaeologist to be elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. The honor helped to legitimize the struggling profession of archaeology in American academic circles.