Posted: April 15, 2010
The first weekend in May, President Joanne Creighton will journey back to her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to receive a Distinguished Alumnae Award. As part of a weekend chock-full of receptions and gatherings, Creighton will receive her award and speak at the Department of English Thirteenth Annual English Banquet and Awards Ceremony.
This annual banquet centers on students who are receiving academic awards. During the ceremony, Creighton, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa, will speak to students and their parents about her experience at that institution, her career, and her perspective on the value of an English major and liberal arts education.
Creighton's visit is much anticipated, according to English department chair Thomas Schaub. Prior to the banquet, the department will hold a small reception in Creighton's honor, which will be attended by Chancellor Carolyn "Biddy" Martin and College of Letters and Science Dean Gary Sandefur, as well as select English department faculty members and members of the Board of Visitors.
"Joanne Creighton was a unanimous choice by the board because she followed one of the professional pathways available to English majors, graduate school in English literature, and a career in teaching and scholarship, and has become one of the nation's premier educational leaders while president of Mount Holyoke.” Schaub said. “The board took notice, as well, of her many accomplishments as president, including her support for students from low-income backgrounds, and her many successes in advancing Mount Holyoke's physical plant and academic mission. President Creighton apparently has that mix of judgment and magic that makes things happen, and creates community at the same time."
Twelve years ago the Department of English established a Board of Visitors, the membership of which is comprised of former English majors at UW-Madison interested in conferring with the department, and who have succeeded in a variety of fields. They come from business, from law, from the university, from the world of the arts; all are dedicated to the public/private partnership that has become vital to maintaining and developing public universities.
Three years ago that board voted to establish an award for a distinguished alumnus/a to showcase the people who have earned B.A.s in English and gone on to great success in various fields. The first winner was the actress Joan Cusack.