Historian Nina M. Archabal to Receive Colman Barry Award from SJU

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April 17, 2006


Saint John’s University will present the 14th Colman J. Barry Award for Distinguished Contributions to Religion and Society to Nina M. Archabal in honor of her leadership and service as historian and preserver of Minnesota history. The award will be presented in conjunction with Saint John’s Day activities on Friday, April 21, in Guild Hall on the Saint John’s campus. The event is by invitation only.

Archabal joined the Minnesota Historical Society in 1977 and was appointed director and state preservation officer in 1987. During Archabal’s tenure, the Minnesota Historical Society developed the Minnesota History Center as the state’s history museum and library. Archabal also oversees a statewide network of historic sites and the Mille Lacs Indian Museum. Her most recent achievement involves the development of the Mill City Museum, a milling museum and education center constructed within the ruin of the Washburn A Mill national landmark on the Minneapolis riverfront.

Archabal currently serves on the Board of Overseers of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at SJU and is a member of the Smithsonian Council. Past service includes the Board of Overseers of Harvard College and the SJU Board of Regents.

In 1997, Archabal received the National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton. She has received an Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota and an honorary doctorate from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. Archabal holds a bachelor’s degree from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass., a master’s degree from Harvard University and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.  

The Rev. Colman J. Barry was president of SJU from 1964 to 1971. He left an enormous legacy at Saint John’s, including the creation of The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, Minnesota Public Radio and the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning. The Colman J. Barry Award for Distinguished Contributions to Religion and Society is given annually to those who, like Barry, have made significant contributions to human knowledge, understanding or communications in religion and society.