Dr. Bill Conlogue celebrated: 20 years serving Marywood’s English Department

On March 22, I read the following citation for Dr. Bill Conlogue at a dinner held to honor those faculty who have served Marywood for 20 years. My words don’t do him justice, of course, but I share them anyhow, as a small tribute to a person who has shared his gifts so widely and generously.   –Dr. Laurie McMillan 

P.S. The beginning & ending are required at the ceremony…they are not how I normally write!

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The Board of Trustees
The President and Faculty of Marywood University
To all who shall view these documents
Greetings
Bountiful blessings in the Lord through the heart of Mary.

William Conlogue, Ph.D.

Those of us who know Bill Conlogue well are likely to note his thoughtfulness, his integrity, his wry sense of humor. Those who know Bill slightly less well are likely to see him as reserved and quiet. In a sense, all of these descriptors are true. As a matter of fact, being the center of attention right now is probably torture for Bill. But the rest of us can enjoy it!

As for the “quiet” part, well, I’d like to qualify that. Bill might also be described as “very loud”—loud in the sense that actions speak louder than words.

***

Just before I started at Marywood, Dr. Barbara Sadowski told me if I wanted to be successful, I should model my behavior on Bill’s.

I tried to follow Barb’s advice by wearing khakis and glasses and rooting for the Red Sox and going ballroom dancing with Bill’s wife, Bridget. But Bridget didn’t want me for a partner, and their dog Louie thought it was weird when I tried to walk him, so I gave up.

But I did recognize what Barb meant. Bill models how to care about your work; your colleagues; your students; your scholarship; and how to care about Marywood. And he translates that care into action. Action carried out with thoughtfulness and integrity.

I was in touch with a couple of Bill’s former classmates, and they gave a similar picture of Bill from the past. His high school friend, Ellen Foster, said Bill was “a quiet, thoughtful guy” who was always a writer. His University of Maryland grad school friend, Emily Orlando, said that even though Bill was known as “one of the stars of the grad program,” he was generous and kind as he encouraged her and other junior scholars.

Bill hasn’t changed. He has strengthened the English Department in countless ways, and, honestly, I wouldn’t be here if not for Bill’s hard work. As the legend goes, he sent a memo requesting a faculty line to Sr. Patricia Ann Matthews IHM, then Vice President for Academic Affairs. She said no. His next request was double in length, with twice the amount of data. And so it went, memo after memo, doubling in length each time, with more and more data, until Sr. Patricia decided it would be cheaper to hire another faculty person than to have Bill continue to print memos. So if I’ve irritated you in any way, you can go ahead and blame Bill.

Bill’s work has had positive effects on many of us in the room. He has probably appeared at the office or classroom doors of many of you sitting here tonight because he prioritizes face-to-face communication even when it means going out of his way on a cross-campus trek. I like to call this “appropriate stalking.”

Bill similarly goes out of his way when it comes to students. One former student, Ann Brennan, told me, “He inspires his students, pushes them to do things they never thought they could, and guides them in discovering not only literature, but also themselves.” She then told me that on one occasion when she was nervous, Bill reassured her by saying, “They’re all sizzle, but you’re the steak.” Ann said that phrase is one that fits Bill himself.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of working closely with Bill, or even if you have, you can know him better when you read his most recent book, Here and There: Reading Pennsylvania’s Working Landscapes. For Bill puts himself there, on every page, blending research with personal stories from different parts of his life, including growing up on the family farm in Forest City and teaching students here at Marywood. You will find, as one Amazon commenter puts it, that reading the book is “a journey.”

What, then, has characterized the 20 years that Bill has journeyed on Marywood’s campus? Well, you may have spotted Bill literally running in the local neighborhoods. And that is apt, because his time at Marywood has been a time of action and movement. And if Bill’s spoken words are usually not loud, well, both his written words and his actions certainly are.

For twenty years, Bill has spoken loudly by showing care with his actions, his teaching, his writing. We thank him and welcome him into THE ORDER: COR MARIAE—PRO FIDE ET CULTURA on this twenty-second day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen.

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