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
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
of Arts and Sciences Dean Inessa
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.
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.
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.
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.