Campus Connection.

October 15, 2004 Volume 20, Number 5

Liberal Arts Lecture Named to Honor Retired English Professor Hallwas

John Hallwas, who has served Western as an English professor and archivist, was recently honored for his work as a teacher, public scholar, regional historian and community activist.

At a Sept. 23 retirement reception for Hallwas, Western’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), in which Hallwas worked for 34 years, announced that its annual lecture in the liberal arts would be renamed the John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture.

According to College of Arts and Sciences Dean Inessa Levi, an endowment fund has been established to help support the annual lecture, which will continue as a major intellectual event at the University, focused on broad educational and cultural issues and aimed at the interested regional public as well as the WIU community.

Hallwas came to Western in the early 1960s from the small Illinois town of Antioch, on the Wisconsin border, earning bachelor’s (1967) and master’s (1968) degrees in English. He was a NDEA (National Defense Education Act) Fellow (1968-1970) in the English doctoral program at the University of Florida, where he earned his Ph.D. (1972) with a specialization in medieval literature. Two years before he completed his dissertation, Hallwas accepted a call from his alma mater to teach British literature.

In 1979 Hallwas assumed added responsibilities as director of regional collections at the Archives of the University Library, which complemented his emerging focus on American studies. Since the 1970s he has also lectured widely in Illinois and the Midwest.

Hallwas is the most widely published professor in WIU history. He has written and edited more than 20 books and monographs, most of them focused on Midwestern literature and history. In 1998 his book “The Bootlegger: A Story of Small-Town America” was nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction. He has also won a variety of awards for his teaching and community service, including the WIU Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award and the Macomb Citizen of the Year Award.


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