College of Arts and Sciences

Sigma Tau Delta Speaker Events

Fall 2016 STD Speaker: WIU President Jack Thomas

STD President Thomas

President Thomas Addresses Sigma Tau Delta

Written by Arielle Henry, Public Relations Officer, Sigma Tau Delta, Phi Delta Chapter

What better motivation is there for an English major than a pep talk from the University President himself?

On the evening of Tuesday, October 25, 2016, approximately 30 members of Sigma Tau Delta and English faculty had the honor of a special address by Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas in the Knoblauch Dining Room.

Audience members learned that not only did President Thomas earn three degrees in English, but he is also a proud member of Sigma Tau Delta. It was very inspiring to hear his compelling story about how he overcame the voices of those who doubted him and his desire to study English. President Thomas was a first-generation college student whose childhood consisted of working on his parents’ farm in a small town in Alabama. After his positive experience in High School learning from his favorite English teacher, he was set and determined to become an English High School teacher as well. President Thomas went on to earn a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. in English, and before coming to Western, he served in many academic positions such as a full professor of English, a Director of a University Writing Center, and a Chair of an English Department.

As President Thomas reflected on his past, he credited many of his accomplishments to his love for the field of English, and he singled out Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and William Faulkner as three authors he enjoyed studying in graduate school. President Thomas took questions from the crowd, and inspired undergraduate and graduate English students alike to do their best and make the most of their opportunities at Western!

Fall 2014 STD Speaker: Judi Ketteler

Judi Ketteler, a freelance writer who has published hundreds of articles in national magazines since 2000, will present "Busting the Myth of the Starving Author: Making a Living as a Freelance Writer" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10 in the Western Illinois University Multicultural Center. Her presentation is open free to students and interested members of the Western Illinois University and greater Macomb communities, according to Timothy Helwig, assistant professor of English and adviser to the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, an event sponsor. Ketteler (, who works out of her home in Cincinnati, will speak about her personal experiences and offer advice about how to pitch a story to an editor; the importance of research; niche writing; and how to stay current with resources, including other freelance writers.
Ketteler writes for such national magazines as Better Homes and Gardens, Midwest Living, Self, Fitness and Runners World. She also has more than 10 years of corporate copywriting experience. In July, Voyager Press published Ketteler's first book, "Sew Retro: 25 Vintage-Inspired Projects for the Modern Girl and A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution." Co-sponsors for this lecture include Western Illinois' English and Journalism Department, Women's Center and the Visiting Lectures Committee.

Spring 2014 Speaker: David Anthony, "Better Call Saul: Jews and Money in American Popular Culture, 1850s to 'Breaking Bad'"

Sponsored by the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, the Department of English and Journalism, and the Visiting Lectures Committee and Council on Student Activities Funds, Dr. David Anthony, an Associate Professor of English at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will give a talk entitled "Better Call Saul: Jews and Money in American Popular Culture, 1850s to 'Breaking Bad'" to students and other interested members of the campus community. Dr. Anthony's research has focused on the related representations of manhood and money in antebellum American mass culture, and his book, Paper Money Men: Commerce, Manhood, and the Sensational Public Sphere in Antebellum America, was published by Ohio State University Press in 2009. He published his first novel, Something for Nothing, with Algonquin Press in 2011. Thursday, March 27, 2014, 7:00 p.m.  - Carl Sandburg Theatre, University Union

Fall 2012 STD Speaker: Bruce Littlefield "Arming Yourself for a Winning Career"

New York Times best-selling author and lifestyle expert Bruce Littlefield visited Western Illinois University on Thursday, October 18. Littlefield joined students, faculty, and interested community members for two events sponsored by the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, the Department of English and Journalism, the Council on Student Activities Funds, and the Visiting Lectures Committee. More than 50 students and faculty attended Bruce’s evening presentation “Arming Yourself for a Winning Career” held in the Lincoln Room of the University Union.

Bruce has received high acclaim for his numerous books, which reflect a wide spectrum of expertise from Garage Sale America and The Bedtime Book for Dogs, to My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family, a novel he co-wrote with civil rights activist Zach Wahls.

Bruce, who has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show and ABC’s The View and who has been deemed a “lifestyle authority” by the New York Times, shared his amazing success story, starting with his humble beginning in a small South Carolina town with nothing but a dream of moving to New York City. He gave students in the audience some of his keys to spotting opportunity and achieving personal goals, such as “always be curious” and “never burn bridges.”

Using extraordinary wit, masterful storytelling, and a clever Power Point presentation, Bruce charmed the audience. His advice to the young participants ranged from the small – always send a handwritten “thank you” note – to the large – “Keep the vision, change the dream.” Whatever your goal, he reminded students, always play to your strengths and you will be successful.

-Kelsey McGuire, STD Secretary

Fall 2011 STD Speaker: Stephen Reichert

On the evening of Thursday, November 10, 2011, approximately 100 students, faculty, and other members of the Western Illinois University community gathered in the Lincoln Room of the University Union to listen to Stephen Reichert, founding and senior editor of Smartish Pace, give a talk entitled “Publishing and Technology: The Evolution of a 21st Century Poetry Journal.” Mr. Reichert reviewed the history of his publication, especially with regard to its increasing presence on the web over the past ten years. More specifically for us inspiring writers in the crowd, Mr. Reichert explained that many poets and fiction writers still prefer to have their works in a print publication than an online publication because of the perceived impermanence of internet links and web pages. After discussing the larger trends and the major challenges facing the world of academic publishing, Mr. Reichert took a number of questions from the audience and then met with students. Earlier in the day, Mr. Reichert also met with a group of English majors and minors for a less formal Question-and-Answer session in the Simpkins Hall Writing Center, which drew more than 40 students, many of whom were interested in learning about the proper way to submit their own creative writing to national poetry journals. Mr. Reichert reviewed step-by-step what specific information a prospective writer should include in a cover letter, and he emphasized the importance of sampling a variety of journals to get a sense of which ones would be a good fit. Mr. Reichert’s focus on knowing one’s audience is exactly what our writing professors remind us to do!

Without a doubt, Mr. Reichert provided students with a wealth of information about poetry journals, and about how to publish our own creative writing. Time to start writing!

Respectfully submitted,
Allison Janacek, Secretary
Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society

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