First, congratulations to the grad students for another successful colloquium this past weekend. Special acknowledgment to organizers Andrew Calis, Yvonne Hammond, Josh Johnson, Aaron Percich, and Shane Stricker, who did the heavy lifting. The event was so good that testimonials soon came from the likes of Professors John Lamb and John Ernest. And, as is not surprising in a department as mutually supportive as ours, in no time professors were thanking students and students were thanking professors and, yeah, we all are pretty remarkable.
I was very impressed by the panel I attended. Four creative writers—Rebecca Childers, Jessi Lewis, Christina Seymour, and Shane Stricker—read work about "home places" and I learned all kinds of truly fascinating things about walnut trees and romance novels and manual labor and Altoona.
I also enjoyed the keynote address by Professor Stephen Matthews from Penn State. The presentation, while science-y (geography!), made good sense, and I found myself frequently saying (silently), "huh, well, what do you know..."
Finally, congratulations to Professor Brian Ballentine, this year's recipient of the much coveted Beagle Award for having, it seems, "no ego." Though (fittingly) Dr. Ballentine declined to have his picture taken, here's a pic of the trophy:
A good-looking hound, wouldn't you say?