Pinet received the distinction, including a medal symbolic of the academic palms, from Patrice Servantie, the Deputy Consul General of France for the French Consulate in San Francisco. Servantie awarded Pinet the medal at ceremonies held Thursday, April 22, at MSU before a room crowded with family, friends and well-wishers.
While awarding the honor, Servantie said that this year only about five Americans will receive the relatively rare French "Officier" distinction.
"Throughout your life, you have nurtured a profound family connection with France," he said. "You have made a wonderful and effective contribution to our country with your real ability to understand its culture and history."
Servantie detailed Pinet's long career researching the roots of French farce and comedy as well as French popular culture and politics. Pinet, whose forefathers were French, began his scholarly investigation of France while an undergraduate at the University of Kansas and a graduate student at Brown University more than four decades ago. Pinet has also been managing editor and editor in chief of the "French Review." The "French Review" is the most widely distributed scholarly journal of French and Francophone studies in the world.
Pinet had been awarded the designation of "chevalier" in the French Order of Academic Palms in 1995, but in promoting him to Officier, Servantie praised Pinet's deep knowledge of French culture and insightful scholarly analysis. Pinet said he was moved on many levels to receive the award, particularly because of his family's long-time service in France.
"In addition to the excitement of having so many of my family, friends, and colleagues present, I was moved to think of my Great Uncle Eli Paul Pinet who served in World War I while only 17 at the Battle of the Somme, my father, Frank Samuel Pinet, who participated in the Invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, and my French cousin, Jean Tallet, who was a member of the French Resistance in the Limousin during World War II.
Pinet has taught at MSU for 29 years.
"It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the people of Montana as a a teacher of French language, literature, and culture and I am proud to have been a faculty member at Montana State University, Bozeman," he said.
Christopher Pinet (406) 994-6444 firstname.lastname@example.org