April 1, 2013

Martin Scorsese, Academy Award winning American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, film historian and preservationist, and distinguished alumnus has delivered the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities on April 1, 2013. The annual lecture, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), is the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

“Martin Scorsese is a scholar of, advocate for, and icon of American cinema,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “He is the first filmmaker designated as a Jefferson Lecturer, but he follows in the tradition of earlier speakers like John Updike, Barbara Tuchman, and Arthur Miller in revealing a profound understanding and empathy for the human condition.”

Scorsese's lecture, "Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema," was followed by an on-stage conversation with noted film-critic and long-time collaborator Kent Jones.

Martin Scorsese was born in 1942 in Flushing, New York. His mania for film dates to the Italian films he watched as a child on television or local movie theaters with his family. By age eight, Scorsese was drawing his own storyboards, his vision of humanity shaped by the view through the fire escape of his grandmother’s Little Italy apartment. Scorsese studied at Washington Square College, now known as New York University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 1964, and received a Masters in Fine Arts in film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1966.

Scorsese is a current member of the Tisch School of the Arts Dean's Council and received an honorary degree from NYU in 1992.

Photo: National Endowment of the Humanities

The 2013 Jefferson Lecture was made possible through the generous support of The American Express Foundation and HBO.