Monday, May 26, 2014

An honorary degree and a fancy dinner

WVU alum and best-selling author Stephen Coonts was awarded an honorary doctorate at the recent Eberly College commencement. Coonts was born in Buckhannon and earned his undergrad degree at WVU before going on to the military, then law school, and then a very successful writing career.

Creative writing students and faculty enjoyed meeting with Coonts on the Friday before graduation and hearing about what it's like to write for a living. We also learned that one of Coonts' favorite WVU classes from way back when was "The Bible as Literature." He was pleased to see that we still offer that one.

And on Saturday, Professors Harms, Taylor, and I joined Dean Bob Jones and Coonts, his wife, Deb, and some of their relatives and friends for a lovely dinner at the Montmartre at the Hotel Morgan where we talked about everything from encounters with bears to small town politics to the value of writing courses in which students get real attention from teachers.

All in all, a great visit and well-earned honorary degree.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2014 Commencement

Well, we made it. We professors, that is. And congratulations, of course, to the students too. We're proud of you and wish you much happiness and success in the years to come.

No pics to offer from the Eberly grad ceremony as faculty sit on the stage and it's a little difficult to use one's phone too much while sitting in the front row... but here's a pic of the undergrad ceremony. Note the "Country Roads" song lyrics on the screen.

And here's a little video of the singing of "Country Roads." As you might expect, the undergrads were much better at this than the grads were. Makes you want to be there, huh?

Friday, May 9, 2014


Well, with the final grades turned in and graduation this weekend, I think it's official......

Monday, May 5, 2014

Humanities Summer Fellows, 2014 (Some are fellows, and some are not.)

There was a good deal of commotion in the front hall of Colson today, and the Tenants came down to breakfast to discover a veritable sea of suitcases and steamer trunks and realized that we were witnessing the annual departure of the three Humanities Summer Fellows. These are doctoral students who, thanks to generous support by the Office of Graduate Education, receive funding to spend the summer in internships, expanding their skill sets and/or exploring possible career opportunities beyond the standard academic options.   

One of this year's interns is Kwabena Opoku-Agyemang, who will spend the summer working at the Ministry of Education in Ghana. An older Tenant (well, me), who is getting a bit hard of hearing, initially thought that Kwabena would actually be the Minister of Education, but the remaining Tenants think that it will take at least until June for him to be promoted.

As to the remaining interns, here is the official description of their appointment:

"This summer, two interns will be assisting [Professor] Julia Daniel with archival research for her book Building Nature: City Planning, Landscape Architecture, and Modern American Poetry. The interns will be working with unique archival materials, such as schematics and planting maps for public parks in Chicago, Hartford, and Paterson NJ from the 30s and 40s, advertisements and legislation for Mount Rainier National Park, as well as hundreds of photographs that document the changing physical and social landscapes of these spaces." 

Less formally speaking, the Tenants suspect that some of the details of the project are still being sorted out since they noted that Intern Number 1, otherwise known as Allyson DeMaagd, was wearing climbing gear and carrying surveying equipment while Intern Number 2, more commonly referred to as Kayla Kreuger-McKinney, was in an Edwardian traveling outfit and earnestly consulting Baedeker's 1909 guide to The United States, with excursions to Mexico, Cuba, Porto Rico, and Alaska, looking for good restaurants in Chicago.   

Needless to say, the Tenants envy all three of them what look to be exciting and productive summers.

Mt. Rainier, prior to being either surveyed or contemplated aesthetically. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

One Day Symposium on Computer Gaming! Free!

It's taking place here, with an international cast of scholars, it's free, and it's about computer games. What more could you ask for?

**The 3rd International Symposium on Computer Gaming Across Cultures**

130 Colson Hall, WVU, May 14, 2014,
Free and Open to the Public
Part of a UKIERI-funded trilateral collaboration between Bangor University (Wales), Jawaharlal Nehru University (India), and West Virginia University

The one-day symposium features presentations by scholars from three continents, providing perspectives on computer games and culture. Panel topics include "Films, Fans, Ethics"; "Crossdisciplinarity"; "Gaming as Culture/Culture as Gaming"; and "Conversations between Playing and Writing."

The program is available at the following URL:

Direct questions to Sandy Baldwin at