The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations is now the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures! 

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2022-2023 NELC Newsletter Volume 4

We wanted to let you know what we've been up to since our last issue.

Click here to view or download Volume 4! 

Check back for our next issue due out late in 2024.

If you want to be added to our mailing list or have news you'd like to share in the newsletter, please send a request to otheresa@sas.upenn.edu.

We'd love to hear from you!

2022-2023 NELC Newsletter

Alumni Spotlight


Pezavia O’Connell, PhD

Methodist Minister Activist, Educator , Scholar of Hebrew

Pezavia O'Connell (1861–1930) was an African American Methodist minister, activist, educator, and scholar of Hebrew.  He received a PhD in 1898 for a dissertation entitled, "Synonyms of the Clean and Unclean in Hebrew.”  This distinction made him the first African American to earn a PhD in Semitic languages in the United States.  Born to a family of…

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