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Park Hall Monitor: Spring 2023

Head's Note, May 2023

Dr. Cody Marrs

Cody Marrs

Spring 2023 was a lively and productive semester for the Department of English. Successful classes were taught, work was published, prizes were won, and connections were made both on and off the page. This semester, we said goodbye to one of our most treasured staff members, Eliana Heckman, and we welcomed two new members to the team, Peyton Bailey and Katelyn Baase. We hosted our first departmental graduation since 2019, and were lucky enough to have Dr. Meg Amstutz, Dean of the Jere W. Morehead Honors College, deliver the commencement speech to our graduating seniors. In addition, we hired a new Department Head, Dr. Roland Végső. Dr. Végső is excited to come to Georgia and brings a wealth of experience to the position. He currently serves as Professor of English with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Until 2022, Dr. Végső served as Vice Chair of the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The future looks very bright for English at UGA.

Although many things are new in the Department, the most important things are very much the same. Park Hall is still a bustling place of intellectual community where everyone, it seems, is reading something. Classes continue to be student-centered and focus on the complexities of language, storytelling, and verbal art. And English courses continue to be a terrific opportunity for students to truly develop and hone their writing skills, as we see in the feature about Josh King’s innovative recent class.  

At the same time, we must say farewell to two of our most beloved faculty members, Dr. John W. Lowe and Dr. Jed Rasula, both of whom have decided to retire. Since his appointment in 2012 as the Barbara Methvin Professor of Southern Literature, Dr. Lowe has been an invaluable and affable member of the Department, teaching numerous classes—and publishing landmark scholarship--on Southern literature and culture. He plans to stay in Athens and finish up his much-anticipated authorized biography of Ernest J. Gaines. Dr. Rasula, since his appointment in 2001 as the Helen S. Lanier Distinguished Professor of English, has transformed the study of Modernism and produced a bounty of influential scholarship. As the Department Head from 2014 to 2017, Dr. Rasula strengthened the Department in multiple ways, boosting our research, updating the curriculum, and carrying out strategic long-term planning. He and Suzi plan to move to LA to be closer to their family. I know I speak for all of you when I say: we will dearly miss Dr. Lowe and Dr. Rasula, and we are grateful for their many contributions to the Department of English, the University of Georgia, and the Athens community.  


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