U-M professors Ruth Behar, Ruth Scodel and Karen Smith are among the newest members named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.The three, all of whom are from LSA, are part of a class of 252 artists, scholars, scientists and leaders in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. Also elected were U-M alumnus and CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta and media entrepreneur and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey.

“We are honoring the excellence of these individuals, celebrating what they have achieved so far, and imagining what they will continue to accomplish,” said David Oxtoby, president of the American Academy. “The past year has been replete with evidence of how things can get worse. This is an opportunity to illuminate the importance of art, ideas, knowledge and leadership that can make a better world.”

Behar, the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology and professor of anthropology, is a poet, writer for young people, teacher and public speaker. She is known for the compassion she brings to her quest to understand the depth of the human experience. She has lived in Spain and Mexico, and returns often to Cuba to build bridges around culture, literature and Jewish life.