Everything college students write informs how they think and thus has the potential to profoundly shape their futures, according to Dr. Felicia Mitchell, an acclaimed poet and an Emory & Henry professor of English, who spoke Wednesday evening at the College’s annual convocation.
Everything you do will inform how you think. Every word you write, whether in a research paper or notes you take in a class, will help you to remember what you are interested in.Dr. Felicia MitchellKeynote Speaker, E&H Convocation
Mitchell referenced the popular college guidebook, “Colleges That Change Lives,” which praises Emory & Henry as “an extended family that uncovers unrealized talents, instills values, and develops the desire and the ability to serve.”
She told the students gathered on the south lawn of Memorial Chapel that E&H faculty and staff members are students’ extended family, and as such “want you to take those brains of yours an exercise them until they are as agile as our best quarterback.”
A poet and writer whose interests inform her classroom dynamic, Mitchell challenges students to think creatively, work collaboratively, and write papers and poems they will be proud of for years to come.
In recognition of her service to students and the college, she has received a McConnell Award, a Sears Roebuck Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence and Professional Leadership, and the William Carrington Finch Award for Faculty Excellence.
She has published her poems widely in journals and anthologies. Her most recent book of poems, Waltzes with Horses, has been enjoying positive early reviews. Her most recent chapbook of poems, The Cleft of the Rock, is from Finishing Line Press (2009).
An essay about her approach to advanced composition appears in Landmark Essays on Advanced Composition. She also edited Her Words: Diverse Voices in Contemporary Appalachian Women’s Poetry for the University of Tennessee Press.
Emory & Henry will provide students with valuable memories of friendships, insights and knowledge – memories that can never be taken away. Emory & Henry, said Mitchell, is an opportunity for students to explore deeply and to find greater insights into their own ideas.
“I want you to think about what it means to remember something, to learn something, to shake something around in your brains until it takes root and never lets go,” Mitchell said. “That is a joy of learning. It is a joy of college.”
Following her speech, Mitchell was honored with the E&H Travel Grant in recognition of her years of service to the institution. Also honored during the ceremony were Dr. James. M. Dawsey, a professor of religion, who received the United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award; Dr. Ed Davis, who received the Earnest E. and Elizabeth C. Maiden Faculty Award; and Rhonda Widner, who was honored with the Earnest E. and Elizabeth C. Maiden Staff Award.