Dr. Richard Vela (English) was one of three Shakespeare specialists asked to speak at the celebration of Shakespeare’s 441st birthday on Saturday, April 23 at the newly renamed American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va. Dr. Vela was recognized for his book, “Shakespeare into Film,” and for his work with the 2002 National Endowment for the Humanities Institute, “Shakespeare’s Theatres: Inside and Out.” The five-week institute studied original staging at the replica of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, The Blackfriars, at Staunton and at the New Globe Theatre in London, England.
Explaining the importance of original staging, Dr. Vela described Shakespeare scholarship as often “working from available clues and guesses, building conjectural drawings, like police sketches that describe Shakespeare as though he were an escaped perpetrator.” Working on the Blackfriars and Globe stages, he said, gives scholars and actors an intimate knowledge of the stage conditions, “a knowledge that they carry in muscle, and bone and heart.”
Dr. Ralph Cohen, co-founder of the Shenandoah Shakespeare festival, organized and hosted the event to celebrate England’s most famous playwright. Other speakers included Patrick Spottiswoode, director of Globe Education at the New Shakespeare’s Globe, London, and Dr. Frank Hildy, theatre historian and director of the Shakespeare Globe Centre at the University of Maryland. A letter from Dame Judi Dench, who could not attend, was read to the crowd of more than 300 people who attended the celebration at the Blackfriar’s Theatre.
In addition to his presentation at Staunton, Dr. Vela was active in several conferences. He is the area chair for “Shakespeare on Film and Television” for the Southwest Texas Popular Culture Association and organized four panels for the conference in Albuquerque, N.M., and chaired sessions there and in New Orleans and Dallas. As a member of the editorial board of The Literature/Film Quarterly, he was also part of a panel of editors discussing academic publication in special sessions in conferences in New Orleans, Dallas, and Albuquerque.
Dr. Vela’s essay, “The Idea of Boundaries in the Work Alberto Ríos,” was purchased by Garland Publishing for publication in its annual volume, Poetry Criticism. The essay originally appeared in Pembroke Magazine Number 34 in 2002. This year, Dr. Vela crossed the nation presenting papers at six conferences:
“‘The Taming of the Shrew’: Constructing Gender in Film Versions of Shakespeare’s Play,” presented at the Popular Culture of the South Conference in New Orleans, La.
“John Ford’s ‘The Fugitive’ And the End of the Good Neighbor Policy Films” presented at the joint meeting of the Film and History League and the Literature Film Association in Dallas, Texas.
“The American Witness: Beresford’s ‘and Starring Pancho Villa as Himself’ and the Construction of the Mexican Revolution” presented at the Florida State University 2005 Conference on Literature and Film, Tallahassee, Fla.
“‘The Merchants of Venice’: the Importance of Context in Film Versions of the Play” presented at the Philological Association of the Carolinas Conference at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“‘By Heaven, I Would Most Gladly Have Forgot It!’: Memory and Imagination in Film Versions of ‘Othello’” presented at the Southwest Texas Popular Culture Association Conference in Albuquerque, N.M.
“On Cinematic Additions to Shakespeare’s Plays: Bottom’s Wife, Henry’s Boys, Kate’s Wedding, and Othello’s Nightmare” presented at the national meeting of the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association in San Diego, Calif.
Dr. Robert Reising bids fond farewell
Dr. Robert Reising, a 34-year veteran of the English, Theatre and Languages Department, will officially hang up his spikes in 2005. He was given a retirement reception on April 20 in the Faculty Lounge of the University Center.
Department Chair Dr. Dennis Sigmon praised his long-time colleague.
“Dr. Reising made important contributions to the University, especially in English Education and American Indian Studies programs,” Dr. Sigmon said. “He will continue to support the University through the Jim Thorpe Scholarship and his many other activities.”
The English Department made a contribution of more than $400 to the scholarship that Dr. Reising worked to establish. The endowment has topped $10,000, and Dr. Reising was appreciative.
“I am very, very grateful to everyone here and to the students for whom I have worked for 34 years,” Dr. Reising said.
Attending the reception was Professor Emeritus Raymond Rundus, who was chair of the English Department when Dr. Reising joined the faculty.
“The first two people I hired in the department were Richard Vela and Bob Reising,” Dr. Rundus said. “I feel like those were two significant additions.”
Hubble Image – Dr. Jose D’Arruda (Physics) discusses one of two large photographs from NASA’s Hubble space telescope that were unveiled at the University on April 25. It is of the M51 Whirlpool Galaxy.
Friends of the Library elect officers
Dr. Anthony R. Curtis (Mass Communications) was elected president of the Friends of the Sampson-Livermore Library at the general membership meeting on April 13. Anne Coleman (Library) was elected secretary and Susan Whitt (Library) was re-elected treasurer.
Business math prevails in Math Relay
A School of Business team led by Dr. Stephen Bukowy, composed of Jin Ping Lin, Amy Butler, Candice Balloue, Justin Hadley and Mark Marcum, took first place in the annual Math Relay competition.
The contest was sponsored by the Mathematics and Computer Science Department as part of Mathematics Awareness Week. Dr. Linda Hafer was the coordinator, and the theme was Mathematics and the Cosmos.
“Mathematics is at the core of our attempts to understand the cosmos at every level. Geometry and topology furnish models of the universe, numerical simulations help us to understand large-scale dynamics, celestial mechanics provides a key to comprehending the solar system, and a wide variety of mathematical tools are needed for actual exploration of the space around us,” Dr. Hafer said.
History Department scores at conference
Three students from the History Department presented papers at the regional Phi Alpha Theta conference at Campbell University on April 16. They were Rebecca Holston, Mary Gyves and James McMillan. Holston won the award for her division.
History faculty attending the conference were Dr. Robert Brown, Dr. Mark Thompson, Dr. Charles Beem and Dr. Bruce DeHart. Phi Alpha Theta is a national honor society for students of history.
Bookstore awards ‘Early Birds’
Brenda M. Jacobs (Music) won both “early bird” prizes in the Bookstore’s textbook adoption contest. Jacobs won a $75 gift card from Belk and a $50 gift card from Wal-Mart.
Jacobs turned in 50 percent of her adoptions by March 30 and 60 percent by April 5. She was not the only winner.
Bookstore grand prizes, for the department, which turned in at least 70 percent by April 11, went to Jamie Hall (Psychology) and Janet Gentes (History). They earned a $500 scholarship for students in their department.
At the Retirement Brunch – Honored were (from right): Dr. Merrill Miller (Religion), Pat Lankford (Housing); Betsy McNeill (Psychology and Philosophy & Religion), Eleanor Fields (Physical Plant), Dr. Peggy Opitz (Nursing) and Millie Jacobs (Controller) with Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Roger Brown.
Milton Marshburn - Small Business Specialist, Regional Center
Myran Gerald Hunt - General Utility Worker, Physical Plant
Gregory Harris - Physical Plant
Stephen Alan Prevatte - Computing Consultant III, UCIS