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Retiring English/Writing professor George Venn was honored recently at Eastern Oregon University's annual Faculty Recognition Banquet.
Venn, who has taught at EOU since 1970, was named the 2002 Distinguished Teaching Faculty Member.
EOU Library Director Patricia Cutright was also honored at the ceremony. She was named the Distinguished Administrative Faculty member.
The Distinguished Teaching Faculty award caps a remarkable teaching career for Venn, who has spent 32 years as EOU's Writer-in-Residence.
"Teaching Â– especially the teaching of writing Â– is a demanding and difficult art," Venn said. "In 32 years of teaching, I've now read and responded to approximately 300,000 pieces of student writing, and I can still see. So, I accept this award on behalf of all those who still attempt to value students as individuals, to welcome students as source of celebration and illumination Â— the same welcome any teacher would hope to receive.
"I also accept this award on behalf of all teachers who must negotiate the clashing rocks of our profession: serving your institution and students, staying current in your field, advancing your practice and reaching out to the public. Any one of those activities Â— alone Â— would be a lifetime of work."
While at EOU, Venn co-authored the new two-track B.A. degree program in English and Writing, instigated the formation of the Eastern Oregon Regional Arts Council, started the University's Writing Lab, and created the English-as-a-Second Language program.
Since 1970, he has published four books, most recently "West of Paradise" (1999), a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in 2000. He has edited 16 works, including the 2,000 page, six-volume "Oregon Literature Series." As a poet, he has been awarded the Pushcart Prize and the Andres Berger Prize from Northwest Writers Inc. His prose has been published in nearly 30 periodicals and anthologized in 16 collections.
Venn's future plans focus on writing.
"I will be writing full-time to complete several works-in-progress Â— a collection of essays, a biography, a novel, and a new and selected collection of poems."
Cutright has been with Pierce Library since 1986 and became director in 1993.
Earlier this year she was named Oregon Librarian of the Year by the Oregon Library Association.
At EOU, Cutright helped direct the formation of the Pioneer Library System. The online network, based at Pierce Library, allows people to see via computer what titles are available at 70 member libraries in Eastern Oregon. Patrons can borrow from member libraries at no charge.
"It has been a good year," Cutright said. "This was a nice surprise. It's wonderful to be recognized by your peers and colleagues. There's so much that has happened on campus, and somehow I've been lucky to be involved with a lot of things. It's nice to see that work come to fruition."
Retiring faculty: Venn is one of five EOU faculty members retiring this year. The other retiring faculty members are:
Â• Mathematics professor Robert Brandon, who has taught at EOU since 1981.
Â• History professor Chuck Coate, who has taught at EOU since 1969.
Â• Sociology professor John Millay, who has been at EOU since 1976.
Â• Terral Schut, the director of Eastern Cornerstone Experience program and EOU's international student advisor. Schut has been at EOU since 1977.