Something to Talk About Personal notes and news.
Cara Blue Adams wins William Peden Prize
July 28 2014
Cara Blue Adams’s short story “The Sea Latch” was selected as the winner of The Missouri Review’s William Peden Prize, the annual $1,000 award for the best short story published in the literary magazine.
Adams, an assistant professor of creative writing at Coastal Carolina University, has had her stories and essays published in journals such as Narrative, Epoch, Mississippi Review, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares and The Sun, among many others. She has been awarded The Kenyon Review Short Fiction Prize, along with scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Writer Jessica Francis Kane was the judge. She is a published novelist with a new short story collection, “This Close,” published last year by Graywolf Press.
Adams is a former co-editor of The Southern Review, best known for her essays and short stories. She earned a bachelor's degree from Smith College and an MFA from the University of Arizona, where she also taught creative writing.
Here’s an excerpt from Adams’ prize-winning story:
When I thought of the girl Agnes’s ex-boyfriend Mike had gotten pregnant, a girl who lived in a trailer with her mother and the baby and who could easily be my sister, I thought of weedy grass, the scrubby, dried-out kind that grows on hard-packed soil. I wanted not to be the person my mother and Agnes thought I was: a person who would judge her for her decision, think she was stupid and backward. But at the same time, I wanted to shake her. How could I not, when I remembered her at five years old, trudging after me up the hill on the way to the school bus in her red rain boots, struggling to keep up?
Arendts have a new daughter
July 31 2014
JIm and Yvonne Arendt welcome a new baby daughter, Magdalena James, born Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Jim is the gallery director of the Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery.
Conner takes a leap of faith
July 31 2014
It was July, and Debbie Conner was about to turn a year older. Since it wasn’t a “special birthday,” she found a way to add some excitement to it.
"I have contemplated a skydiving experience for a long time,” says Conner. “I found a friend who was celebrating a birthday, too, and we organized to go together.”
Conner and her friend, Scott Bame, jumped in tandem on July 19, both for the first time. The two were accompanied by friend Rich Osman, who recorded the experience on his GoPro video camera. They jumped at Skydive Myrtle Beach at the North Myrtle Beach Airport.
“It was the scariest thing I have done,” says Conner. “The biggest challenge was leaving the plane but it was the most fun and exhilarating experience.”
Conner was 14,000 feet above the ground when she jumped. She landed where her husband was waiting for her. She even recorded a video message for students before she took the leap. “Before I jumped I told them, ‘Sometimes you just have to jump in,’” says Conner. “It is especially important for our new students to hear because they are getting ready to embark on a new experience. College may feel like a jump out of a plane. It can be daunting and scary, but you have to take a risk to enjoy the beauty of the new experience.”
Conner plans to jump again for her daughter Kayla’s 20th birthday in the spring.
Putting the CCU back in Chat 'n' Chew
July 31 2014
April Sager and the CHANT411 student staff traveled to the Chat ’n’ Chew in Turbeville last month to learn more about Coastal Carolina University’s early beginnings. It was at the restaurant that Conway and Columbia businessmen met to discuss Coastal Carolina Junior College becoming part of the University of South Carolina system.
CCU President David DeCenzo met the CHANT411 students for dinner, presenting the restaurant owners with Roy Talbert’s book, “Coastal Carolina University: The first 50 Years” and a Coastal flag.
Bernard and Willodene Blackmon, the restaurant’s newest owners, were unfamiliar with their restaurant’s part in CCU’s history.
“I think it’s just another part of this restaurant’s rich history,” said Blackmon in a local newspaper article on July 26. “I had heard rumors about Coastal Carolina being started here, but I didn’t know anything for sure.”
Sager said the group of 15 had a blast. “It was a great experience as we put CCU back into the Chat ’n’ Chew,” says Sager, who made commemorative Chat ’n’ Chew buttons to mark the occasion.
Chauncey gets superhero look
July 31 2014
Chauncey is about to go superhero on us.
Teaching associate and sculptor Logan Woodle has been busy sculpting a 17-inch Chauncey from classic clay. The “mini-Chauncey” is in a boxer’s stance with his two clenched fists ready for attack and an angry looking face. By now, you might be wondering – do chickens have fists and faces?
This one does. He is the model for the larger, 7-foot Chauncey that will be cast in bronze and placed in front of the new baseball/softball complex, which should open in formal fashion in February 2015.
“We took our standard Chauncey and put him on a diet,” says Woodle of the trim, muscled Chauncey who has almost human qualities.
The bronze mascot project has been a collaboration that began with Arne Flaten, chair of the Department of Visual Arts, who had the idea to build a kiln and cast the bronze piece in-house rather than paying thousands of dollars to commission a scuptor to create the giant Chauncey.
“We talked a lot about what we wanted it to feel like,” says Woodle, who teaches sculpting classes and who is excited to be spearheading the construction of an outdoor kiln for sculpting projects. The kiln will be in the exterior courtyard of the Edwards building.
“Coastal is a really extraordinary place in that it has been 100 percent supportive,” says Woodle, referring to the purchase of costly kiln equipment. “Instead of commissioning this piece, doing it ourselves will benefit the whole program. It will be a great investment for future student sculptors.”
A successful Orientation season concludes this August
July 25 2014
By Alexandra Morris
Coastal Carolina University will host its last orientation of the season on Aug. 13. This one is reserved for transfer students and any remaining freshmen who were not able to attend an earlier session. At CCU, Orientation is a two-day event in collaboration with the entire University where new students and families can experience a warm, informative and entertaining first welcome from their chosen school.
Traditionally, the transfer orientation and the new freshman orientations were exclusive. “This year with the large population of incoming freshmen, we will have a few more students who will join us in August,” says Meredith Kahl, director of New Student and Family Programs. She expects to see 350 to 400 students.
Kahl is the mastermind behind CCU’s orientation events. She explains that preparation for the 12 orientations, spanning June through August, is a yearlong task. “When students and families leave orientation, they should feel reaffirmed, satisfied in their decision and excited to be a part of this community,” says Kahl. “Everyone at this school understands the importance of Orientation. There is a group I call the New Student Transitions committee, which brings individuals together from housing to the academic colleges.
“Orientation at CCU is not what it was years ago,” says Kahl. “It has moved from the Office of Admissions to the Office of New Student and Family Programs. The focus is not just the academic side of college anymore, but a whole extracurricular, social and personally fulfilling journey.”
A total of 2,455 freshmen and 562 transfer students have already attended an orientation session this summer. And the student growth isn’t the only thing that’s spreading. “These past two days have told me that success is possible at CCU for my student,” says parent Corina Bennett from Wilton, N.Y. “The students are the most important priority at this school.”
Departments given kudos for assessment
July 19 2014
The Office of Facilities - Planning and Management was awarded first place in the administrative area at the Assessment Awards Luncheon hosted by the Provost’s Office on July 16. The luncheon was held to recognize exemplary efforts in assessment in the administrative and student development areas.
Kimbel Library won first place in student development assessment.
Second place winners were Campus Recreation for Student Development and Information Technology Services for Administrative Units.
In addition fo first and second place awards, there were three honorable mentions named in each area.
Administrative Units - Sustainability – Jennifer Sellers; Contractual and Business Services – Sandy Baldridge; Financial Aid and Scholarships – Caroline Madden
Student Development - Student Activities and Leadership – Whitney Comer; Counseling Services – Jennie Cassidy; Accessibility and Disability Services – Jennie Cassidy
John Beard, Lori Church and Tim McCormick were recognized for chairing the assessment committees.