Created in 2015 to honor the school’s 175th Anniversary, the Williston Northampton Medal is presented to an individual who has made significant achievements and contributions to their profession and/or community, shown a commitment to professional growth, or is recognized for leadership in their field. Their contributions do not need to be publicly renowned, but represent important creative effort or accomplishment with professional, societal or educational value.
Sheila Fisher is a medievalist who specializes in Chaucer, late 14th-century English literature, and medieval women writers. She is the author of The Selected Canterbury Tales: A New Verse Translation, co-editor of Seeking the Woman in Late Medieval and Renaissance Writings: Essays in Feminist Contextual Criticism. She is nearing completion of her first historical novel, which focuses on two notable 15th-century English women who met and shared their religious experiences: the mystic Margery Kemp, author in 1436 of the first autobiography in English, and the anchoress, mystic, and author Julian of Norwich, best known for her work, Revelations of Divine Love.
A Trinity College faculty member since 1984 who served as chair of Trinity’s English Department for three years and as associate dean of faculty for four years, Sheila attended the Northampton School for Girls and was a member of the first co-ed graduating class of the Williston Northampton School. She received her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Yale University and her B.A. summa cum laude with Highest Honors in English from Smith College. Recognized as an exceptional educator, Sheila is a recipient of the Prize Teaching Fellowship at Yale and the Brownell Prize for Distinguished Teaching at Trinity.
Sheila is co-director of the Trinity Prison Seminar Series, which offers credit-bearing college-level courses at the York Correctional Institution, the only women’s prison in Connecticut, as well as the Free to Succeed Program, which offers mentoring to citizens in re-entry as they seek to complete their college education after prison.