RIO GRANDE — University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College professors take pride in bringing southeastern Ohio’s Welsh heritage to academia.
To further this effort, Dr. Kent F. Williams, professor of English, presented a paper at Harvard University as part of the North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History’s international conference.
During the event, Williams spoke about the Welsh Romantic Poet Felicia Hemans in his paper, “‘For the grave has extinguish’d its light’: Countering Stasis in Felicia Hemans’ Welsh Melodies.”
Williams said he shared a recording of the third song in Hemans’ 16-song sequence “The Hall of Cynddylan” made by Rio’s own professor of music Dr. Sarin Williams, pianist Barb White, and vocal-music education majors Mandy Adkins and Racquel Sims as part of the presentation.
“I’m very thankful for this lovely music that supported and enhanced my paper. I am also grateful for the support and encouragement of my friends and colleagues at Rio Grande,” Williams said. “I would especially like to recognize Madog Center for Welsh Studies Director Jeanne Jones Jindra, Sodexo employee Eben Jones, Jeanette Albiez Davis Library Director Amy Wilson, and Print Shop Manager Rick Thomas for their assistance in my work.”
Williams said he is grateful Rio Grande offers students, faculty and staff access to the research database, OhioLink, as well as the Rio library’s research databases, which allowed him access to a large number of essential books and articles to complete his research.
“Rio’s library has been a great resource for me, and our Access Services associate, Deborah Thompson, worked diligently to have a rare 1822 first edition of Hemans’ Welsh Melodies sent to Rio Grande from Harvard for my paper,” Williams said. “Without access to this book, I could not have completed my research or paper, so I’m extremely thankful for her efforts.”
Dr. Richard Sax, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said he is excited to see different programs at Rio working together to present southeastern Ohio’s heritage to academic professionals from across the country.
“Dr. Williams’ research and conference presentation embody the best of what a small university can do. Utilizing the expertise and talents of music faculty and students to record a Welsh song for the presentation while allowing the traditions of the region and the continuing advocacy of our Madog Center for Welsh Studies to influence his work shows the strong connection we have between academics and our community’s proud heritage,” Sax said. “Kudos to Dr. Williams for his well-received conference presentation.”
Williams said he is glad his 33 years teaching at Rio have allowed him the opportunity to present at NAASWCH, which is “a multidisciplinary association of scholars, teachers and individuals dedicated to advancing scholarship on Welsh studies, supporting the study of Welsh-American culture and fostering international bonds between scholars, teachers and the Welsh-American community.”