The educational experience at Wilkes University will always be grounded in the liberal arts, with a general education curriculum that exposes scientists to the humanities and requires social scientists, writers and artists to take some course work in math or science. But how we experience and study the traditional academic disciplines is evolving in the digital age. Our cover illustration – created especially for Wilkes magazine by graphic designer Kara Reid – reflects the changing nature of humanities study for our feature on the English department’s digital humanities concentration. It reflects a world where we still study classic literature, art and music – but do it by employing the digital resources now at our fingertips. To learn more, see our full feature.
Digital Humanities Curriculum Transforms Study of Literature
By Geoff Gehman
An assignment for their Studies in Chaucer Class became an academic pilgrimage for Wilkes sophomores Tara Giarratano and Nicole Kutos. They visited archives in two states and two countries without leaving Kirby Hall. They debuted as handwriting analysts, editors and archivists. They were digital detectives, searching for how words open worlds.
The two students spent fall 2014 transcribing the work of medieval scribes with a Mac computer. Sitting side by side in the English department’s digital studio, the pair dissected 100 lines in four different manuscripts of The Miller’s Tale, a pivotal part of The Canterbury Tales. They used collation software to log variations in spelling and syntax; they footnoted definitions and comparisons with the help of the online Middle English Dictionary. After scores of hours, they had created their own scholarly edition of Chaucer’s colorful introductions of key characters, including a carpenter’s wife prettier than a blooming pear tree. Continue reading
Jane Stapleton ’86 Works to End Sexual Violence on Campus
By Andrew M. Seder
Jane Stapleton ’86 credits her Catholic school education as contributing to her innate desire to rally against social injustices. Her time at Wilkes as an undergraduate student only strengthened that sense of activism and empowerment.
“I was inspired by my professors to really make a difference in the world,” Stapleton says from her office at the University of New Hampshire where she’s co-director of the Prevention Innovations program that develops, implements and evaluates programs, policies and initiatives that seek to end violence against women. Continue reading
Leonard J. Koerner ’64 Built a Career as a Lawyer for New York City
By Francisco Tutella
New York City’s Grand Central Terminal is an engineering and architectural marvel that conveys 82 million passengers annually throughout the city. The station, which hosts restaurants, stores, markets and special events, celebrated its centennial in February 2013. Yet if it weren’t for Leonard J. Koerner ’64, the beaux arts terminal would be gone, replaced by an office building.
Today, Koerner is chief assistant of corporation counsel in the New York City Law Department. In 1975, the Penn Central Transportation Co. announced plans to demolish Grand Central and build a skyscraper. The public backlash, led by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, pushed the issue to the courts. In 1978 the case landed before the U.S. Supreme Court, where the soft-spoken and unpretentious Koerner headed New York City’s litigation team. Continue reading
Wilkes University Inducts 22nd Class to Athletics Hall of Fame
The latest group of alumni inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame are being recognized at the Feb. 7 Colonels men’s basketball game during a special half-time ceremony.
Fritts was a two-time MAC Champion wrestler at 190 pounds for the Colonels in 1970 and 1971. His career dual-match record stands at 36-6-2, the best winning percentage of any wrestlers in his weigh class in the history of Wilkes wrestling. Fritts was also a member of the silver anniversary team.
Fritts is a retired Presbyterian pastor and also works part-time as a personal coach and consultant. He lives in Downingtown, Pa. Continue reading