Springfield, Ohio — Wittenberg University Professor of English and Director of the American Studies Program Mary Ellen Jones will be honored at a Tribute and Retirement Reception at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in Ness Family Auditorium, Hollenbeck Hall.
Jones touched many lives in her 44 years at Wittenberg, and the celebration will provide an opportunity to reminisce, share stories and express appreciation for the lessons and knowledge shared, the friendships and laughter enjoyed, and the love of literature she inspired.
Professor of English and Department Chair Robin Inboden will host the program, which will be Greek-themed in deference to Jones' year (1963-64) as a Fulbright teacher on the island of Corfu, Greece. She taught at the First Boys' Gymnasium, which was similar to a prep school.
Clues to Jones' motivations can be seen in comments made over the years. In a discussion of her innovative TV as a Literary Genre course, Jones said, "The most significant revelation, I feel, is the recognition that we're equals in a process, we teachers and students; we all get a lot further along the road to creativity, to significant production – yes, even to conventionally academic excellence."
Her philosophy of teaching credits both the student and the teacher with sharing the responsibilities of learning.
"One of the most gratifying activities is serving as 'coach' to senior majors preparing for their oral comprehensives," she said. "Many have had me for a course on a related topic and it's a pleasure to see them present a mature final discussion of a topic begun years earlier, perhaps. In such a context, we're colleagues."
Jones may be retiring from the classroom, but she is not retiring from her love of English and the written word. She continues to write, including a memoir of her year on Corfu, which earned her a commendation from the United States Naval Attaché, U.S. Embassy, Athens, Greece, for liaison work between the Sixth Fleet and the people of Corfu, and where she lived as the only American at the time of J.F.K.'s assassination.
Refreshments will follow the presentation. Keeping with the Greek theme, the menu will include such items as the Greek dish spanakopita (spinach pie).
Written by: Phyllis Eberts