February 2010 Archives

Looking forward by looking back

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Though I hope for this blog to be forward looking, I'd like to start off by looking back.  In this case, to a dinner that I attended last October 23, as part of the College of the Liberal Arts Centennial celebration. (To see the Centennial video on YouTube, click here.) The dinner was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the College throughout its history, as well as to recognize a number of truly amazing alumni who have made a difference in the life of the College, and who have also made major contributions to their fields and their communities.  The point of this blog entry, though, is to talk about two people in particular: Terry Peavler and Linda Deniston-Peavler.

Terry came to Penn State in 1971 from the west. He grew up in Colorado and did his PhD at UC Berkeley. Terry had a long and successful career as a Professor of Spanish. He also put in stints as Graduate Officer in the Department, as an Associate Dean of the College, and as Interim Head of SIP as well. Terry has always been a strong supporter of both Penn State and of SIP. In fact, Terry and Leon Lyday (another emeritus professor and longtime Department Head) established the Lyday/Peavler Graduate Student Enhancement Fund in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. The fund allows us to provide travel support to graduate students every year and plays an invaluable role in the professionalization of our students.

Terry and Linda retired to Colorado 2001. Linda is an artist, and both are very active in their community. They've just made an extraordinary estate gift of over $1.5 million dollars to be used to support graduate fellowships in the Humanities, with a preference for Spanish. This is one of the largest gifts ever made by a Liberal Arts faculty member. Terry and Linda's gift will have a major impact on our program and on the lives of the graduate students that it benefits. In many ways, our graduate students represent the lifeblood of what we do. They play a crucial role in the education of our students, and they represent Penn State as they move forward in their own careers. We are all extremely grateful to Terry and Linda, both for their generosity and their vision for the future of our Humanists.

So I guess that starting off by looking back really is a way of looking forward.