In The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie’s narrator at one point asks “how does newness enter the world?” At this moment, we know newness enters the world through the line of English graduates we proudly watched file out of the University Center Ballroom on May 15, and also through the launch of this redesigned website and its accompanying blog. A disclaimer at the outset: this is “the Chair’s blog” and I am most certainly not the Chair. With our current Chair — my colleague, Professor Jill Bergman — out of the country at the moment, though, I figured I might mind the shop on this one occasion, if only to welcome you to our new website as it goes live and, on behalf of the entire faculty, to wish you a restorative and fulfilling summer.
Regarding those graduates, by the way, there were just over one hundred Bachelor of Arts degrees awarded in English, as well as sixteen M.F.A. degrees in Creative Writing, thirteen M.A.s in Literature, and six M.A.s in Teaching. We salute them — and we’ll miss them! We also congratulate our four recipients of the Outstanding English Seniors distinction — Stephanie Swigart (Teaching), Adam Tew (Literature), Brent Thorsen (Film Studies), and Lena Viall (Creative Writing) — and the almost two dozen students who received various special scholarships for the 2010-11 academic year. You can read more about this year’s Commencement and see a few pictures in our May 2010 department newsletter.
And the website: wow, it has taken a year to get it to this point! We hope you like it. With the Fall semester still somewhat safely distant, for now you may want to check our “Faculty Top Threes” page to see what our faculty is reading this summer. And please stop by this blog space on occasion, too, especially during the academic year, as it will no doubt be used to announce departmental events and readings, as well as to mark the accomplishments of our students and faculty. Happy and safe summering to all!