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Arts Retirees in 2016

Fri. Sep. 2, 2016

As we approach the new academic year, you may notice changes in some areas. People who were once the face of the department, or who played a prominent role in it, have retired. Things will be different; they will be missed.

Here, friends and colleagues of our retirees share some of their thoughts.

Linda Dietrick, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Linda DietrickTeaching areas: German languages at all levels, German culture, German literature (Romanticism, in particular)

Kristin Lovrien-Meuwese is Assistant Professor in the German program in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. She says, "When I think of Linda Dietrick, I think of her smiling, encouraging face, her funny sense of humor, and of her incredible energy and willingness to help both students and colleagues. She is not only an excellent researcher, teacher and administrator, but also a mentor and friend. It will not be easy to fill her shoes!"


Rachel Berg worked with Linda Dietrick as the Department Assistant for Modern Languages and Literatures while Linda was Chair of the Department. She says that "Linda was a wonderful Chair to work with! Always quick-witted and attentive, she will be greatly missed in the department, but I have a feeling that she will keep close ties with the university for years to come."

(Photo: © UWinnipeg)

Murray Evans, Department of English

Murray EvansTeaching areas: a specialist in Medieval culture, literature, and manuscript illumination. His scholarly interests also include the work of J.R.R.Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and their literary group of Inklings. In the latter part of his career, he became interested in the Romantic concept of the "sublime" and developed a specialization in the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge as well.

Catherine Hunter is a UWinnipeg alumna, Professor of English, and a former Chair of the English Department. She remembers Murray Evans as a favourite professor, having studied both Medieval Literature and Shakespeare with him. As a professor, she says, "Murray has a wonderful way of accepting people for who they are and challenging students to pursue their own learning in their own way, while providing seemingly endless titles of books and articles that 'might interest you.'" She recalls that at the end of a Medieval Literature seminar, he invited the class over to his place to watch the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." "That movie is at its funniest when you've just spent a couple of seasons immersed in the tales of the knights and damsels and the strange customs of the Middle Ages," she says.

Catherine offers that, "When I began teaching at UWinnipeg, Murray continued to be a valued mentor and became a good friend as well. Things will not be the same in the English Department without his guidance, wisdom, and unique sense of humour." She adds: "Murray, if you're reading this, you should come down to the Club and have a beer with us once in a while!"

Catherine mentions that Murray is also a highly accomplished classical pianist and that he played several times at the UWinnipeg Class Acts scholarship fundraiser.

(Photo: supplied)

David Hewlett, Department of Theatre and Film

David HewlettTeaching area: design (set, costumes, make-up)

Patty Hawkins is a UWinnipeg alumna and Office Manager/Student Advisor in the Department of Theatre and Film. She recalls first meeting David Hewlett in 1979 when he taught her make-up as part of an Intro Theatre course. She says "at twenty-one years of age, he turned me into an old lady for the benefit of all the students. It was remarkable – and terrifying!" She adds that, "since that time, I have had the pleasure of working with David for many years and have seen, first-hand, how immensely our design students have benefited from his vision and creative talent."

Christopher Brauer, Acting Chair of Theatre and Film, notes that David’s instruction and mentorship launched the careers of countless designers. And in those students who didn’t pursue design professionally, he says, "David instilled a sense of wonder at how the creative process could be given a physical manifestation." He adds that "my work with David in the school and on professional productions was never anything short of a delight. He is much missed."

(Photo: © UWinnipeg)

Judith Kearns, Department of Rhetoric,Writing, and Communications

Judith KearnsTeaching areas: feminist rhetoric, style and editing (including more recently a course called "Advanced Editing")

Jaqueline McLeod Rogers, Professor and Chair of the Department of Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications, notes that "What is remarkable about Judith is that she accomplishes a lot of detail work, and makes it look easy. For example, as I advise students and work with Calendar provisions, I am often struck by how hard she must have worked to  build the architecture of the curriculum of our department—with support from other fine department members like Barry Nolan and Dr. Brian Turner. Over those years when she was developing these extensive plans, she never appeared to be overburdened or tense when dealing with her colleagues—always professional, but more than that pleasant and willing to offer help as needed."

Jaqueline adds that "Judith has been a really positive person to work with—able to identify potential trouble spots when advancing projects, but usually doing so with suggestions for how to get around being stalled. One of the things she modeled was how to find ways to get things done."

Jennifer Clary-Lemon is Associate Professor in the Department of Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications. "Judith was a wonderful mentor and model administrator in the RHET department," she says. "In the ten years that we worked together, Judith always was willing to offer kind words and great advice, whether career or personal. She was an inspiration to those who care about student writing, and will be sorely missed!"

(Photo: supplied)

Nolan Reilly, Department of History

Dr. Nolan ReillyTeaching areas: Winnipeg history, Canadian labour history, oral history

James Hanley, Chair of the Department of History, remembers first meeting Nolan Reilly during his interview in 1999, and he shares that "Nolan has always been a personal and professional model for me." He adds, "Nolan’s work on behalf of the Department will pay a dividend far into the future."

Alexander Freund is Professor of History and Chair of German-Canadian Studies. He recalls that "Soon after I arrived at UWinnipeg in 2002, Nolan and I started talking about oral history. In 2004, we began to rebuild the Canadian Oral History Association, its journal, and created the Oral History Centre. In the course of this intense work, we became great colleagues and true friends." He goes on to say: "I have learned incredibly much from Nolan, not just about academic life, but about life in general. I look forward to working with Nolan as the director emeritus of the OHC and meeting often off-campus to chat about ‘Gott und die Welt’ as we say in German."

(Photo: OHC, used with permission)

Sandra Tomsons, Department of Philosophy

Sandra TomsonsTeaching areas: environmental ethics, applied philosophy, social and political philosophy, Indigenous justice issues, epistemology

Jack Zupko, former Chair of Philosophy at the University of Winnipeg and now Chair of Philosophy at the University of Alberta, writes, "When I think of Sandra Tomsons, I think of someone absolutely dedicated to students -- someone who'd go the extra mile, and then some, to remove obstacles for students and create an atmosphere where they'd be able not only to learn but to thrive as learners. And that is what many of her students did, heading off to graduate and professional schools and great careers beyond the University of Winnipeg. She will be missed."

Adam Scarfe is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and says that "having been Sandra's departmental colleague for the last six years, and having been in the office right next door to hers for the past three, I will miss her personally." He notes that "while I could definitely expound upon the quality of her research, I admire Sandra above all for modeling the professional value of 'students-first,' not only in relation to her teaching, but also as regards to enhancing the quality of student life outside the classroom." He goes on to say, "She has taken *THE* central role in our department when it comes to students: whether it be mentoring and encouraging students as departmental advisor and thesis supervisor; initiating and participating in countless academic, presentation, and awards nights for students, as well as being the faculty cornerstone when it comes to department outreach events for prospective students. Simply put, through her actions and not only through words, Sandra has consistently reminded me that students come first. They are the chief reason why we are here at the university and their educational development is the common aim around which university departments should measure their success." Adam concludes by saying, "While I am extremely sorry to see Sandra retire, I can only wish her 'all good things' (as she always says at the end of her e-mails) in her future journeys and projects..."