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Hallwas Retirement Reception

A retirement reception for John Hallwas, English and Library Archives, was held September 23, 2004 in the Union Lamoine Room. Among other recognitions, Macomb Mayor Mick Wisslead presented Hallwas with the Illinois Humanities Council's 2004 Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award and President Al Goldfarb presented Hallwas with the Distinguished Professor Emeritus Award. Photo of Hallwas at the podium

A noted public scholar, Hallwas has been on Westerns faculty 34 years, teaching American literature and nonfiction creative writing courses and courses in intellectual history for the Centennial Honors College. He has also served as an archivist at the Malpass Library since 1979. Hallwas has brought historical and cultural insights to the people of Illinois and the Midwest through a wide range of publications, lectures, and workshops focused on literature, history, community life and creative nonfiction. During the 1980s he wrote columns of cultural commentary for several Illinois newspapers. His weekly radio program, Prairie State Journal, which focused on the history and literature of Illinois, was heard over many National Public Radio stations in 1992 and 1993.

The most widely published professor in Westerns history, Hallwas has written or edited more than 20 books and monographs, most of them focused on Midwestern literature or history. He has written introductions to several scholarly editions of Midwestern texts, and he has written dozens of literary and historical articles as well as plays based on Illinois history. Hallwas was also commissioned to write First Century: A Pictorial History of Western Illinois University, for Westerns Centennial celebration.

Hallwas has received a variety of awards and honors, including the Distinguished Professor Award (for excellence in teaching) and the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award (for career achievement) from WIU, and the MidAmerica Award (for distinguished scholarship) from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature. In 2003 he delivered the Inaugural Liberal Arts Lecture at WIU. In 1994, his Spoon River Anthology: An Annotated Edition was selected by Choice magazine as one of the Outstanding Academic Books in America, and in 1996 Cultures in Conflict, co-authored by Roger D. Launius, won the John Whitmer Historical Associations Best Book of the Year Award and the Mormon History Associations Best Documentary of the Year Award. In 1998 The Bootlegger was nominated for the National Book Award for Nonfiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.

John Hallwas distinguished record of teaching, publication and public service speaks for itself and tells only part of the story of his contribution to WIU and the region, said David Boocker, chair of the English and journalism department. What is missing from a catalog of his accomplishments is evidence of what a wonderful person John is. Those of us who have had the opportunity to get to know John and work closely with him have been as fortunate as the thousands of students he has taught over the years, and we are better people ourselves for that opportunity.


Macomb Mayor Mick Wisslead presents John Hallwas with Studs Terkel Award

Macomb Mayor Mick Wisslead presents John Hallwas with Studs Terkel Award

WIU President Al Goldfarb honors John Hallwas

WIU President Al Goldfarb honors John Hallwas

Marla Vizdal, presenter of the WIU Seal (carved by Ken Epperson)

Marla Vizdal, presenter of the WIU Seal (carved by Ken Epperson)

Multiple awards presented

Multiple awards presented

John Hallwas, Ken Epperson, President Goldfarb

John Hallwas, Ken Epperson, President Goldfarb

James Huesmann, Dean of WIU Libraries

James Huesmann, Dean of WIU Libraries

Ron Walker, former Chair of WIU English Department

Ron Walker, former Chair of WIU English Department

Tom Carper, former Mayor of Macomb

Tom Carper, former Mayor of Macomb

The Retirement Cake

The Retirement Cake

Garnette Hallwas, John Hallwas, Joe McRaven and Tom Helm, Master of Ceremonies

Dave Boocker, Chair of WIU English Department and John Hallwas

Dave Boocker, Chair of WIU English Department and John Hallwas

John Hallwas greets wellwishers (Sally McPherson, Gordana Rezab)

John Hallwas greets wellwishers (Sally McPherson, Gordana Rezab)