Hamblin to Receive 2006 PRIDE Award

Photo of Dr. Robert Hamblin

Dr. Robert Hamblin, professor of English and director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University, will receive the PRIDE Award during commencement exercises on Dec. 16.(View larger image of Dr. Hamblin)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Nov. 30, 2006 – Dr. Robert Hamblin, professor of English and director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University, will receive the PRIDE Award during commencement exercises at 2 p.m. Dec. 16 in the Show Me Center.

The PRIDE Award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence as a teacher, an extraordinary level of scholarship and service, and whose overall accomplishments are especially noteworthy. Hamblin was selected for the award by the Council of Deans after nominations were solicited from each of the University’s colleges and schools.

In addition to receiving the PRIDE Award, Hamblin will serve as the grand marshal at commencement exercises Dec. 16 and will present the address at the Honors Convocation, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., also in the Show Me Center.

“I’m both humbled and honored to receive this prestigious award,” Hamblin said. “Southeast has been very good to me and my family over the years.  I can only hope that I’ve been able to contribute something positive in return.  Southeast is a great institution, and I’m very happy to be a part of it.”

Hamblin has taught at Southeast since 1965. A native of northeast Mississippi, he first read Faulkner’s works in T. D. Young’s “Southern Literature” class at Delta State University in 1959. Later he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Faulkner’s hometown, completing both his thesis and dissertation on Faulkner topics under the direction of John Pilkington, author of The Heart of Yoknapatawpha, an influential study of Faulkner’s major novels.

In 1978, Hamblin met Louis Daniel Brodsky, a noted Faulkner collector who lives in St. Louis, and since that time, the two men have worked together to produce Faulkner: A Comprehensive Guide to the Brodsky Collection (5 vols., UP Mississippi, 1982-88) and other books, articles, exhibits, and public lectures based on the materials in the Brodsky Collection. In 1988, Southeast Missouri State University acquired the Brodsky Collection and established its Center for Faulkner Studies to oversee the use of the materials. Hamblin has served as the director of the Center since its creation.

Hamblin has directed Faulkner seminars for both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Missouri Humanities Council. He is one of the originators of the “Teaching Faulkner” sessions at the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference and edits Teaching Faulkner, a newsletter devoted to the teaching of Faulkner works in university, college and high school classes. He has co-edited, with Charles A. Peek, A William Faulkner Encyclopedia and A Companion to Faulkner Studies; with Stephen Hahn, Teaching Faulkner: Approaches and Methods; and, with Ann Abadie, Faulkner in the Twenty-First Century.  In 1997, he delivered the keynote address at the Faulkner Centennial Celebration in New Albany, Miss., Faulkner’s birthplace.  In 2005, he served as general consultant to Oprah Winfrey’s “Summer of Faulkner” and taught As I Lay Dying online to Oprah’s Book Club, which numbers 600,000 members.

In addition to his Faulkner work, Hamblin has published two volumes of poems, From the Ground Up and Mind the Gap: Poems by an American in London; a sports biography, Win or Win: A Season with Ron Shumate; and critical essays on Robert Penn Warren, Willie Morris, Pat Conroy, and W. P. Kinsella.  Hamblin’s third volume of poems, The Pole Vaulter and Other Heroes, will be published in early 2007.  He serves as poetry editor of Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature and as associate editor of The Cape Rock, a little magazine of poetry.

Hamblin has received the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association’s Faculty Merit Award and a Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 1998, he received the Missouri Library Association’s Literary Award. In 1992, he received the Halsell Prize from the Mississippi Historical Association for the best article of the year published in the Journal of Mississippi History.  He has been awarded research grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Southeast Missouri State University Grants and Research Funding Committee. He has lectured and taught as a visiting professor in London, The Netherlands, China and Japan.

At Southeast he has served on numerous department, college, and university committees, including the ad hoc committee that designed and developed Southeast’s nationally recognized University Studies program.

Hamblin is also heavily involved in community activities.  He is a member of First Baptist Church and program chair for the Cape Girardeau Historical Association.  He and his wife Kaye are restoring the historic Harrison House in downtown Cape Girardeau and succeeded recently in having the house placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Hamblin also performs for churches and organizations “Preacher in Overalls: The Story of Clarence Jordan and Koinonia Farm,” a Chataqua-type presentation about the legendary Baptist minister who was active in the civil rights movement and inspired the creation of Habitat for Humanity.  The Hamblins have two children:  Laurie, who is a member of the Southeast history faculty, and Stephen, a paramedic who is currently serving with his National Guard unit in Iraq.

This is the 11th year Southeast has presented the PRIDE Award. Past recipients are Dr. Alberta Dougan, professor emerita of history; Dr. A. Louise Hart, former chair of the Department of Nursing; Dr. Allen Gathman, professor of biology; Dr. Athula Kulatunga, former associate professor of energy and electronics; Dr. Frederick Yeo, former chair of the Department of Middle and Secondary Education; Dr. William Snell Jr., professor of psychology; Dr. Janet Weber, professor of nursing; Dr. David Ritter, associate professor of chemistry; Dr. Jack Sterrett, professor of marketing and former chair of the Department of Management and Marketing; and Dr. Bruce Domazlicky, professor of economics.