Clean Water journalism contest announced

Clean Water Network is sponsoring a Dirty Water Stories writing contest for aspiring journalists and current journalism students. CWN is looking for compelling stories that will help communicate to federal, state, and local decision-makers the gravity of America’s water crisis. The winner will receive a cash prize of $300 and be posted on Clean Water Network’s website. For contest guidelines, click here.

It’s JWP Research Conference time

Students are invited to participate in the annual John Wesley Powell Research Conference, scheduled for Saturday, April 10, 2010. Each year a number of English majors present. Student participants share their research in posters or by presenting papers in the CNS building, with Educational Studies students presenting in the Ames Library.

To participate, students must register on-line. The registration form asks for a brief (150 word) abstract, which should be carefully crafted because it will be published in the conference program. Deadline for registration is March 12.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Timothy Zwier, M.G. Mellon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University.

For more information, consult the conference website.

Beloved professor dies

Professor Elizabeth Oggel, who taught English at IWU from 1945-1969, died on January 22, 2010 at the age of 105 . . . just a month short of her 106th birthday. A former student of hers, Dr. Larry K. Uffelman, Professor Emeritus of English at Mansfield University, voiced sentiments that are no doubt shared by Professor Oggel’s former students. “Elizabeth was one of a kind,” wrote Uffelman, who returned to Bloomington for Professor Oggel’s 100th birthday party and led all of her former students in a recitation of the opening lines of The Canterbury Tales.

“Probably every student who took the Survey of English Literature from Elizabeth remembers entering her office to recite to her two carefully memorized ‘chunks’ of poetry: the opening fourteen lines of The Canterbury Tales in Middle English and, later, a Shakespearean sonnet of our choosing.

“Elizabeth taught us to read poetry closely and with great care,” Uffelman wrote. “Over the years, I’ve known many excellent professors—even trying to be one myself—but I’m not exaggerating when I say that Elizabeth’s teaching, her critical rigor and her concern for her students’ learning, was exceptional. When I graduated and eventually began my own career as an English professor, she was one of my models.

“A common thread that runs through advertisements for colleges and universities is that they ‘strive for excellence.’ Elizabeth Oggel was excellence personified,” Uffelman wrote. “We are fortunate to have been her students.”  Pictured is one of the marked-up pages from Professor Oggel’s anthology of British poetry.

Sigma Tau Delta inducts 2010 members

The Alpha Eta Pi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta welcomed new members on Sunday, January 10, 2010 in a ceremony that was attended by students, family, and faculty. STD officers welcomed new members (l to r) Christine Spees, Korey Williams, Casimir Franiewicz, Amy Fairgrieve, and Margaret Byrne. Also inducted but unable to attend were Brandon Dorn and Erica Stein.

Professor Joanne Diaz, faculty sponsor for the group, reminded everyone of STD’s origins and traditions. To be invited to join, students not only have to be English majors or minors who have taken Practical Criticism, they also need a 3.6 GPA or better in their English courses and they have to rank within the top 35 percent of their graduating class. In a competitive school like IWU, this is a significant accomplishment and honor, especially considering that IWU earned the Outstanding Chapter Award from the International Sigma Tau Delta Society.

In the keynote address, Professor Dan Terkla, our medievalist, told students how concerned he was with today’s multi-tasking and multi-media, reminding them that books should be savored as a feast, not a fast-food meal or downloadable snack. One of the highlights was an ancient set of instructions Dan read which told how to make parchment—all to help his audience better appreciate what books once were. Here’s the full text of his remarks.

Next Tributaries deadline: January 31

Tributaries, IWU’s student-run literary magazine, recently sent out a reminder that the deadline for the next submission period is January 31.

Just three things to remember:

–Five pieces maximum per artist (written or otherwise)

–Written pieces must be in .doc format so it can be accessed on the old version of Windows (95-2003)

–Send all pieces to by midnight on January 31

Famous English alum to receive another big award

Dave Kindred (’63), widely regarded as his generation’s most accomplished print sportswriter, will be able to add another major award to his shelf come April 7 . . . and it’s not a leg lamp.

Kindred, who previously won the Red Smith Award—sports journalism’s highest honor— will be feted at a ceremony in Augusta, Ga. with the 2010 Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism.

“Of the many sports that Dave has covered worldwide, we are grateful for his love for the game of golf, said PGA of America president Jim Remy in a press release. “His passion for the game has served readers for generations to better appreciate the game.”

Kindred has written sports articles and columns for 45 years. He’s been a Washington correspondent, sports columnist, and a fixture at Sporting News and other publications, including Golf Digest. He’s also the author of numerous books, among them Glove Stories: The Collected Baseball Writings of Dave Kindred (2002); Sound and Fury: Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship (2006), about the Howard Cosell/Muhammad Ali friendship; and the upcoming Morning Miracle: Inside the Washington Post: A Great Newspaper Fights for Its Life.

Alumni update: Mary (Kizaric) Hilbert

Mary (Kizaric) Hilbert (’04) writes, “I teach high school English at Lincoln-Way (a district in Chicago’s south suburbs). I’m also working on my Master’s in Writing and Publishing at DePaul. I’ve been working on it for four years, and am finally at the end of the program. It took so long because I only take one class at a time. I figure I’d rather take longer to get the degree and actually learn something than rush through, but not get everything I could from the program.

“It’s been fun finding my voice as a writer and getting to be both an academic and a professional.” Hilbert adds, “The degree has also taken awhile because I took two quarters off when I had a baby in March of 2008. Life is both much simpler and much more complicated now!”

Reunion set for Chicago-area Argus alums

An informal reunion (with The Argus, is there any other kind?) of Argus alums will take place at the original Billy Goat Tavern near Tribune Towers and the Wrigley Building, 430 N. Michigan Ave., lower level. If that doesn’t bring back memories of ICPA, nothing will.

Former editor-in-chief Gretchen Grabowski will be visiting Chicago from Orlando, and former editor-in-chief Katie Coleman will be there as well. All current and former Argus staffers are encouraged to join them at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 16. How appropriate. Journalists made this place a landmark before SNL and the “cheezborger” routine.