Sunlight shone through the west facing windows of Sojourner Truth Library as professors from all departments came together to celebrate each other. On Feb. 28. the library held its fifth annual celebration of faculty authors from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
The night started off with a reception where attendees could walk around, peruse the books that were being celebrated, speak to one another and enjoy some refreshments. To qualify for being one of the celebrated authors you must have been a faculty member and an author who published a book in 2018.
The event started five years ago because the Dean of the Library, Mark Colvson, realized there was no event like this on campus. Now it happens every year around the end of February.
“It seemed appropriate and ideal for the Library to recognize what is, after all, one of the most significant accomplishments a faculty member can achieve,” Colson said.
Colvson started the night out with a speech welcoming everyone. President Donald P. Christian also gave a few words.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been a faculty member, I’ve now passed the point where I’ve been a full time administrator more years than I was a faculty member,” Christian said. “But I remember the joy that goes into the scholarly creation that we’re celebrating here. I also recognize that even though it’s a labor of love, it’s a ton of work.”
Ronald Knapp, a part of the department of geography and Asian studies program, was the first to speak about his book and the events that led up to the final copy.
“I’ve worked hard, there’s no doubt about that, just ask my wife, but I have to say I’ve also been a pretty lucky guy, I think luck is a big part of this,” Knapp said. “I’ve never been deterred by a ‘no’ and those of us who write know that ‘no’s sometimes come one by one and sometimes they come in profusion.”
Another author that got up to speak about her book, “Graffiti Grrlz: Performing Feminism in the Hip Hop Diaspora,” was Jessica Pabon, a professor in the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies department. Pabon started her college career as a sculpture major and started taking women’s studies courses which led her down the path of relating art to feminism and women.
“I had a class called Lesbian Art in America, in that class I started thinking about the distinguishing factors between low art and high art, tying it back to my upbringing and how I grew up around people who wrote graffiti: ‘vandals,’ ‘criminals,’ my friends,” Pabon said. “And I thought to myself, ‘that’s weird, how come I don’t do graffiti? And how come none of my girl friends did graffiti? Surely there must be women who do graffiti, right?’ So it was this end of the semester paper that you do for a class that turned into what is now my book baby.”
This year 26 books were being celebrated ranging from fiction to non-fiction.
One author who wasn’t there to celebrate his book was Peter Kaufman, who passed away in November of 2018, only three months after his book was published.
“Perhaps the most noteworthy recent author is one who could not be with us: Peter Kaufman, for his book ‘Teaching With Compassion: an Educator’s Oath to Teach From the Heart.’ Professor Kaufman was that rare educator who truly lived and understood the risky, vulnerable, and ultimately exhilarating process by which one opens oneself, along with others, to a new understanding of the world,” Colvson said. “His last book is a fitting tribute to an educator who lived for his work, and excelled in a field crowded with high achievers.”