News Release: Arts and Humanities, People, Teaching, University News

May 20,  2009

Schuchard's Quest to Fill Academy's Needs Renewed

News Article ImageRonald Schuchard (left) receives the Thomas Jefferson Award from President James Wagner.

When Ronald Schuchard first came to Emory in 1969, one of the first committees he was appointed to was the one to select the recipient of the University’s Thomas Jefferson award.

“As a very junior member of the University faculty, observing and listening to the proceedings, I was deeply impressed by achievements and contributions of the nominees and it gave me a strong, new sense of a rich, full and rewarding University life,” he said.

After 40 years of service and a lengthy string of accomplishments, the Goodrich C. White Professor of English received the Thomas Jefferson Award, which is presented at Commencement to a faculty member or administrative officer in recognition of significant service to the University through personal activities, influence and leadership.

Past recipients, he noted, “sensed an absence or need within the University that their talents could fill. They initiated action and devoted great energy to fulfilling that need or absence, like a bright new leaf on the University tree.”

“You never think about it or know you are a candidate. When the call comes, it’s a surprise,” said Schuchard, who was in London when the call from President Jim Wagner came.

“My own professional life goes on apace,” he said. Currently embedded in a massive project on the works of writer T.S. Eliot — he is the general editor of Eliot’s prose — Schuchard said he felt the need for an international summer school and so “I will be happily taking four Emory students with me” to the University of London this summer.

Noting, “I’ve always been interested in international education,” he has directed the British studies program at the W.B. Yeats summer school in Ireland, which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary. He’s also completing, as co-editor, the third edition of the collected works of Yeats.

After 20 years of creating and growing the Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature, Schuchard is turning the series over to Joseph Skibell, associate professor in the Creative Writing program. “I want to always support the Ellmann Lectures and do everything in my power to see that it is endowed and a permanent part of University life,” he said. “All great universities have major lecture series. It’s important for Emory to have and preserve such a lecture series and I am working to secure its endowment.”

As a Jefferson award winner, he said, “I feel like I need to redouble my effort to become worthy of the award. I feel a new charge to continue to find ways of filling absences and dealing with needs. “

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