Spring 2015

Issue Archives


A Mission, A Market and A Dream: 35 Years With Gary Fincke

Ernest Hemingway once told F. Scott Fitzgerald to “write the best story that you can, and write it as straight as you can.” Gary Fincke, the Charles B. Degenstein professor of English and creative writing and founding director of the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University, has undoubtedly heard “Papa” Hemingway’s words and conveyed them in his own way to generations of young writers. After all, the honesty and directness espoused by Hemingway come naturally to the no-nonsense Steel City native whose blue-collar upbringing cemented his “straight talk” approach to writing, teaching and life.

Investing in People

Signe Gates ’71, vice chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, counts her parents and her years at Susquehanna as the most impactful influences on her life. The daughter of an asbestos worker and a secretary, Gates was a first-generation college student whose parents could not have been more proud when she entered Susquehanna.

Also in this issue

Brent Papson, who leads the office responsible for advising student organizations on their event planning, is constantly looking for the all-important fun factor in the college experience. Susquehanna Currents talked with Papson about the work he does with the university’s student organizations.

Who designs coffee cups? Chip bags? How do they know what consumers will find appealing?
The Susquehanna River is the longest river on the East Coast, stretching from upstate New York to the Chesapeake Bay. In 2011, it topped American Rivers’ list as the most endangered river in the country. By last year, the Susquehanna had fallen from the Top-10 list, but there is plenty of work left to be done before the river will be considered healthy, and researchers at Susquehanna are doing their part to help it heal.
The Council on Undergraduate Research has recognized Susquehanna University as a leader in the field for providing more than 300 of its students the opportunity to present their research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Susquehanna is one of only 57 universities and colleges nationwide named to the list, a remarkable achievement.
On Jan. 13, Tom Perkovich was named the 30th head football coach in Susquehanna history.
Susquehanna’s athletics facilities received some much-needed upgrades recently, thanks to the support of our generous alumni. This spring, men’s and women’s track and field athletes broke in a new javelin runway adjacent to Amos Alonzo Stagg Field at Nicholas A. Lopardo Stadium. The runway was on full display March 28 when Susquehanna hosted its annual Jim Taylor Invitational, the first home meet of the outdoor season.
The men’s rugby club, under the direction of Jonathan Niles, who also serves as Susquehanna’s Mellon grant program director on the Freshwater Research Initiative, has established itself as one of the premier programs in the mid-Atlantic with an impressive campaign.
Earlier this year, Susquehanna University President L. Jay Lemons was selected to serve as vice chair of the National College Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division III President’s Council. He will become chair of the council next year.
Michaeline Shuman, assistant provost for postgraduate outcomes and director of the Career Development Center, says her top priority is “helping students find success with what we call their ‘first destination’ after graduation, whether that be entry into the work world, graduate or professional school, or compensated and competitive opportunities such as fellowships and long-term service.
From classroom visits and workplace tours to career-planning programs and networking receptions, Susquehanna’s dedicated alumni shared their time and talent with hundreds of current and prospective students during the 2014-15 academic year.
You might say Katherine Ann Furlong’s introduction to Susquehanna was a bit on the frigid side. She was interviewed for the position of university librarian and director of the library during a blizzard in February 2014. “There was so much snow that I couldn’t leave town at the end of the interview, and I had to stay another night,” Furlong recalls.

From Our Own

First Word

Colleagues often hear me say that my lunches with students are my weekly affirmation of vocation. The lunches have been a tradition of mine since my earliest years as a college president, borrowed from the practice of one of my mentors at Texas A&M University.

End Notes

If education is the key that unlocks the doors of opportunity to limitless choices, then English is the passport one uses to travel to uncharted destinations. At least, this has been my experience. A few years after I graduated from Susquehanna University, I found myself in a white-collar professional rut, and I started thinking about the ways in which challenging my assumptions about my own potential could be a means to revitalizing my professional life. As 2008 approached, I started to revisit my ideas about what was possible and why. What really mattered and why?