Great Expectations

A blog of the Department of English at BGSU:A place for faculty, students and alumni to connect.

Archive for July 12th, 2007

Dr. Rea McCain, Department Pioneer

Posted by bgsuenglish on July 12, 2007

University departments tend to be notoriously transient places; students arrive and then graduate, faculty and staff are hired or move on to other opportunities, and the semester-long rhythms of the academic calendar wax and wane. So it was with some surprise that we recently learned of the life and long career of the very first Chair of the Department of English, Dr. Rea McCain.

Dr. McCain was not only our first chair at then Bowling Green Normal College in 1914, but went on to serve as such for another thirty eight years, eventually retiring in 1952 as Professor Emeritus.

Eric Honneffer of the Center for Archival Collections which houses Dr. McCain’s papers writes in his finding aid for the collection that she “directed the first plays on campus, taught public speaking and oversaw the debate teams. She was instrumental in organizing the campus chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society, as well as other local honor societies.” He continues:

Dr. McCain traveled extensively [and] fifteen years prior to her retirement she visited Europe on at least five occasions. In 1950 she was a delegate to the International Federation of University Women’s Convention in Zurich, Switzerland. Once retired she traveled to Iceland on a freighter and in 1953 drove to Alaska on the Alaskan Highway. She even wrote a travel column for the Bowling Green Sentinel Tribune.

No word yet on whether current Chair Dr. Kris Blair plans on matching her predecessor’s remarkable achievement;) Get back with us in 2043!


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