The second-to-last week of the spring semester is one of the most joyful and rewarding times of the academic year. This is when we celebrate the academic excellence of our English and Creative Writing students, when we recognize the commitment, passion, and accomplishments of those students and their faculty.
On Wednesday, we gathered in the Drost Room of Wolfgram Library to hear senior Creative Writing majors (and a minor) read from their portfolios: the culmination of a semester-long senior seminar, and of four years’ worth of writing and revising. Megan Lewis read from a series of episodic flash fiction pieces, and Sierra Offutt read from the first chapter of her YA novel in progress. Minor Monica Colwell (who is a Political Science major) read a creative nonfiction piece about a moving encounter with an Alzheimer’s patient. The students were advised by Professor Ken Pobo, who opened the event with a generous introduction and facilitated a post-reading Q & A about the students’ aesthetics.
Then, on Thursday evening, Humanities faculty gathered with students and their families for the annual Humanities Awards Ceremony. This wonderful event, organized by the Committee on Recruitment and Retention and the Office of the Associate Dean, recognizes students with majors in the Humanities Division who have achieved a cumulative average of 3.5 or higher. Nicole Crossey, a double History/Political Science major, gave the Distinguished Graduating Senior remarks, sharing reflections on how the study of History can help us understand our own turbulent times. The Featured Alumni Speaker, Daniel DiPrinzio (’00), offered humorous and generous comments on the possibilities Humanities students can look forward to after graduation. DiPrinzio, who is Director of Communications at Arcadia University and the author of several books, is well-positioned to share thoughts on success.
We were also pleased to present the two special awards given at the Humanities Awards Ceremony: the winner of this year’s Allison Roelofs Award, given to an excellent early-career English major, was Emma Irving, and the winner of this year’s inaugural Justinian Society Award, given to a Humanities senior who plans to attend law school, was Christopher Ross, a History major.
Finally, today we celebrate Student Project Day, the annual showcase of undergraduate research. Students working with Professor Daniel Robinson in Textual Scholarship shared their study of the history, theory, and practice of textual editing, their work preparing a text of William Wordsworth’s two-part Prelude, and their time at the Wordsworth Trust over spring break. The students closed their presentation by reflecting on how much their work in English and Creative Writing means to them — we couldn’t agree more!