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Spring 2020: A Virtual Honors Day

Park Hall CupolaHead's Note, May 2020

From Dr. Michelle Ballif

Dear friends of the Department of English: 

As ever – but particularly in this moment of exception – we hope this newsletter finds you well.  We are proud to share with you the successes of our students and faculty, and especially to highlight our recent graduates and award winners.  Although pandemic conditions necessitate our physical separation, we gather here virtually to celebrate accomplishments, to acknowledge the hard work that both students and faculty have undertaken in these past months to transition to online instruction, learning, and support, as well as to recognize the ways in which all have continued to produce smart and sophisticated work in troubled times. 

We also want to acknowledge the retirement of two of our faculty, who have served the department for decades:  Professor Elizabeth Kraft and Professor Ron Balthazor.  Their contributions to our department, to the university, and the greater profession have been many, and they will be sorely missed. 

Additionally, I want to acknowledge all of our donors.  Indeed, the bulk of the awards bestowed are a result of generous donations, gifted to us in the names of former faculty, students, and friends of the Department of English.  We express our deep appreciation to all our current—and—future donors.   

Before you read on about the successes of our students and faculty, I want to express my appreciation for all of our faculty, our program coordinators, their administrative assistants, our support staff in the department—and, of course, the contributors to this newsletter.  There are many in our department who generously give of their time and talent, including—but not limited to—Professor Esra Santesso and Professor Richard Menke.  Both have served the department with dedication during the past six years in their respective administrative positions of Associate Head and Undergraduate Coordinator.  As they step back from these administrative demands, other faculty members have stepped up to assume these positions:  Professor Roxanne Eberle will become the new Associate Head and Professor Casie LeGette will serve as the Undergraduate Coordinator.  The work done in such administrative positions, along with the work of their support staff, is often invisible, but is essential to ensuring the conditions of possibility for our individual and collective success. 

Once again: congratulations to our award winners and to the graduates of the class of 2020! 

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