Professors Publish Books

Academia and the writing life continue to be paired, as evidenced by the careers of two guest speakers – author and university teacher Jaimy Gordon and poet and professor Sam Hazo – who visited Wheeling to speak and discuss their work this past week.

By coincidence, we have received word that two people formerly associated with higher education in the Northern Panhandle have written, or are working, on new books.

Dr. John Hunter, former president of West Virginia Northern Community College, has announced the publication of a memoir, “Reading Yeats and Striving to Be a College President.” The book has been published by iUniverse.

Hunter said that “Reading Yeats” provides an overview of problems and issues facing colleges, along with what he sees as essential principles and strategies in college development. The author said he casts himself as a “contrarian” in many aspects of educational management.

Hunter, who retired in 2006, and his wife, gospel singer Lyla Beth, now reside in Hornell, N.Y.

Meanwhile, Robert W. Schramm, a retired professor of physics at West Liberty State College (now University), said he is beginning work on a history of the town of West Liberty. The book will be co-authored by Schramm and his wife, Jeanne, a former staff member of the college.

Previously, he published pictorial histories of the college, Linsly School, Moundsville and Wheeling Island. He served as archivist at the college for 32 years and as archivist for Linsly’s museum for six years until 2010.

Schramm said he is doing research and is trying to locate historical records, drawings, photographs, maps and any material related to the town of West Liberty. Anyone who has this type of information may contact Schramm by mail at P.O. Box 102, West Liberty, WV 26074; by e-mail at or by telephone at 304-336-7159.

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The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Fiestaware with a gala reception marking the opening of a special Fiesta exhibit at the Culture Center in Charleston at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 31. The event is free and open to the public.

J.M. Wells, president of Homer Laughlin China Co., the firm that manufactures Fiestaware in Newell, and Elizabeth Mcllvain, executive vice president of the company, are scheduled to attend the festivities. During the reception, they will present special-edition Fiesta pieces to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of the Division of Culture and History.

We’re told that patrons can purchase a limited-edition, signed and numbered mini pitcher with the 75th anniversary logo of Fiesta in the West Virginia State Museum Shop in Charleston and at Tamarack in Beckley, beginning at 6 p.m. that day. Officials said that quantities and colors are limited at each location.

According to a press release, the exhibit in the Culture Center’s Lobby Gallery features a “Rainbow of Color,” consisting of two sizes of plates “in an explosion of the vivid hues of Fiestaware, including all current colors.” There will be vitrines with additional shades of Fiesta produced since it was introduced in 1936, including the five original colors: red, ivory, cobalt blue, yellow and green.

The show includes a selection of historic Homer Laughlin china showcasing some of the other designs and dinnerware produced by the company from the West Virginia State Museum Collection. One special vitrine in the exhibit will showcase prototypes of a special line of Fiesta created for the West Virginia Governor’s Mansion.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: