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April 11, 2024

  • Jeanette Winterson for “gAyPRIL”
    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
Spring Housing Guide

From Scholar to Mentor: The Legacy of Dr. Allan Emery at BGSU

From+Scholar+to+Mentor%3A+The+Legacy+of+Dr.+Allan+Emery+at+BGSU

“I never really thought, ‘Oh I want to be a professor.’ I just wanted to keep learning,” said Emery.

English Associate Professor Allan Emery, while he’s currently working at Bowling Green State University [BGSU], he’s studied at two universities and has a diverse range of teaching experience.

During Emery’s years as a professor, he commuted to work four hours a day, taught almost all forms of literature and engaged in thoughtful discussion with his students. At the end of Spring 2024, he will retire and step away from his daily professor life.

Surrounded by a sea of books and annotated journals in his office, Emery never envisioned dedicating his entire career, and then some, to the study of English.

Emery had a repertoire of experiences with students before he stepped foot on BGSU’s campus. He taught at Portland State University in Oregon and the University of Texas in San Antonio during his climb for his Ph.D. in English. BGSU, however, was the place where Emery decided to spend his career.

Mike McDermott, Emery’s former BGSU student, had nothing but great things to say about him.

“He would write as many notes as I had words in my paper. It was tremendous,” said McDermott. “He knew how to write about literature and made so many suggestions. I always loved it.”

Ironically, Emery said that this exact practice was something he retroactively feared was more harmful than helpful to his students.

“I would mark papers up and say, ‘This is how you should have said that,’” said Emery. “I feel a little bit guilty about that. I don’t think I was doing much in helping people.”

The method served to be more helpful than he anticipated. McDermott explained both his daughter and son, Emma and Jimmy, were taught by Emery as well, and they expressed fond memories. He said he was ‘honored that his entire family was taught by Emery.’

“Emery is my favorite English professor I’ve had,” said Jimmy McDermott.

J. McDermott, senior majoring in Philosophy at BGSU, said that while growing up, his father would tell stories about his experience at college, frequently mentioning Emery.

“I grew up hearing about him. Then my sister got him, and I finally got to,” he said.

The generational impact that Emery has on the McDermott family is just one reported instance.

“He changed the way that I read literature,” said J. McDermott. “I haven’t had any other English professors that got me to think that hard about the stories.”

Emery, with his credentials, could have had the opportunity to teach anywhere in the country. However, he says BGSU took the cake.

“I’ve been very happy at Bowling Green, there’s lots of bright students here,” said Emery. “I’ve never wished to be at Harvard or anything like that.”

Despite being surrounded by family who were teachers and professors, he never thought about it for himself. He began at university studying History and took a last-minute pivot toward English in the last semester of his senior year.

That was when he ‘accidentally took some English classes’ and it drew him to take a whole additional year of English.

“I just fell in love with the American literature classes I was taking,” said Emery.

He said while contemplating his college major freshman year, his roommate was a declared math-major genius. Emery joked he would never be that good at math so he ‘drifted toward humanities and social sciences’ instead.

And that is exactly what he did. Emery completed his undergrad in History and English at Rice University in Houston, Texas, only to go back to school for his Ph.D. at the Ivy League, Cornell University, with a 7% acceptance rate.

Just because he stopped going to school, he says it didn’t mean that he stopped learning. His career consisted of thousands of graded literature papers, and discussions, with even more literature in his free time.

Emery has been working on a book about author Herman Melville and his tales for more than 40 years.

“I was supposed to be publishing steadily while I was a professor,” said Emery. “But to tell you the truth, I haven’t had time to do nearly as much of that as I would have liked.”

His retirement will allow the time to complete it and Emery said to ‘hopefully publish it.’ The time outside of literature will also be spent doing ‘husband-ly things,’ like gardening and traveling with his wife.

As he prepares for the new chapter of retirement, he said he hopes his students enjoyed his classes enough to continue to read. There is one thing he loved most about his career.

“It’s the pleasure of interacting with other people and jointly discussing something that I love and want them to love too.”

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