Guests knew the evening would be something special when they were invited to hear a poetry reading featuring works by Joel Jones, the former president of Fort Lewis College and a man who’s better known for his writings on leadership.
His wife, Rochelle Mann, said he has been writing poetry ever since he was a young academic at the University of New Mexico (which is a while, but I won’t go into how many decades, ‘er, years that is). Mann, a professor emerita from the college, had been collecting them in a file and decided it was time to pull them together into a book.
On Feb. 8, they held a small launch party at Karyn Gabaldon Gallery, with Fred Wildfang reading selected poems and Jeff Solon providing instrumental accompaniment. (It was a flashback for me, because 15 years ago or so, I was organizing the Brown Bag Authors Lunches for the Durango Public Library, and they performed a “duo” for the Valentine’s Day outing.)
Wildfang was a perfect choice. Not only was he one of Jones’ graduate students at UNM 40 years ago, he is a published Beat poet. Wildfang also helped Mann decide what poems should be in the book and come up with a title, I Hold the Stone, and The Stone Holds Me.
The book was a labor of love, Mann said, and was originally created as a gift for family and close friends. Now it has morphed into something the couple’s wider acquaintance can enjoy. Maria’s Bookshop staff was on hand at the evening, handling sales and the logistics of the booksigning. (That’s trickier than you might imagine, having been through it myself a few times.)
The book is now available at Maria’s, which has already sold quite a few copies but still has quite a few on hand. Those who don’t prioritize shopping local – or are a reader of mine who isn’t local – will also find it through Amazon and Borders both in print and e-book form.
All proceeds, Mann said, will go toward Jones’ scholarship at FLC, a loving gift to the college that has been a centerpiece to both their lives.
Celebrating the last of the Aquarius birthdays and the first of the Pisces-born are Mike Grandin, Jim West, Darlene Bliss, Dick Pearson, Patrick Cunnion, Ellen Patterson, newly minted Barbara Conrad Leadership Award-winner Stan Crapo, Ellen Babers, Jeff Munger, Maryann Fassett, Debbie Chilcoat, Carol Treat, Bill Phillips, Betsy Petersen, Herb Folsom, Odette Zenizo, Gene Bradley, Sam Stites, Paul Broderick, Rick Selser, Hall Sippy, Meade Harbison, Peggy White and Lloyd Lasher Jr.
Speaking of professor emeritus status, I had always wondered how the title works, and FLC Provost Barbara Morris filled me in (along with the FLC Board of Trustees) at a meeting last week.
First of all, it is a title, and it’s not automatically conferred on a professor just because he or she is retiring.
The professor must have been a tenured FLC professor for at least 10 years in residence. The department head writes a letter of recommendation with all the “wonderful” things they have done, Morris said, then the nomination goes through the dean of the professor’s school, the provost and the college’s president before being confirmed by the board of trustees.
So when you see the title before someone’s name, now you know what it means.
(On Friday, by the way, the board confirmed the appointment of three professors emeriti, Gordon P. Cheesewright, professor of English emeritus; William B. Dodds, professor of marketing emeritus; and Ron C. Estler, professor of chemistry emeritus.)
The title comes with a few perks – they keep their college email account administered by FLC’s information technology crew, they have lifetime free parking on campus, a lifetime Skyhawk athletic admission pass and they retain professorial library privileges at Reed Library.
(I’m sure Duane Smith will get the most use out of that athletic pass than any professor emeritus in FLC’s history, but that’s another story.)
Hard as it is to believe, February is more than half over, which means March is fast approaching, and you know what March is? In addition to spring break month, it’s also Women’s History Month, and as always, the Women’s Resource Center is marking it in high style.
The theme this year is “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.”
The kickoff is one of my favorite events of the year, the Extraordinary Women’s Award Luncheon, which will be held March 4. The featured speaker will be Liz Ross, the new director of the Small Business Development Center, who will address the importance of public service to make our community thrive.
The three award winners truly merit the title of extraordinary women: Joanne Spina, assistant La Plata County manager and the founder of Journey of Hope, which has raised countless thousands of dollars to provide uninsured and underinsured women access to mammograms; Linda Campbell, whose fundraising on behalf of the Mercy Regional Medical Center and Fort Lewis College have made an enduring mark on some of our major institutions; and Jane Fogelman, who nobody would describe as the wife of the former Air Force chief of staff because she is a force of nature in her own right.
This event is always high energy and sends every attendee out into the world determined to be extraordinary women, and men, themselves.
Tickets are $30 and are available at the Women’s Resource Center, 679 East Second Ave., Suite 6, or by calling 247-1242.
Other events include a screening of the film “Suffragette” and a hat-making party to honor those fearless foremothers who got women the vote.
To learn more, visit http://wrcdurango.org/womens-history-month-2016/.
These may be the balmiest anniversaries these February-wed folks have ever celebrated – Sam and Kathy Burns and Alan and Pat Stelter.
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