In Memoriam: Dr. Roger Easson

Roger Easson In MemoriamDr. Roger Easson (Literature and Languages, Retired) passed away on Saturday, October 22 at Methodist Hospice. He had been suffering for several years from cancer that was diagnosed five months after he retired from CBU and had recently spread to his bones. He chose palliative care rather than an operation that might have interfered with his ability to breathe on his own and to continue writing. His wife, Kay, and his sister, Joyce, had been with him during his hospice stay.

Dr. Easson began teaching in the School of Arts in 1987 and played a seminal role in establishing the still-popular English for Corporate Communications major, which aims to prepare students for careers in professional writing and also directed the Writing Center for a number of years, and guided students through internships at Memphis-area businesses. He retired from CBU in 2013.

Follow this link to read more about Dr. Easson’s life and career, including testimonial from his colleagues at CBU.

Please keep Dr. Easson and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Donations to help pay for Roger’s medical expenses can be made on his GoFundMe page.

SOA Students Write for the Galleon

In the last year, several students from the Department of Literature and Languages have completed practicums in digital writing for CBU’s Galleon online magazine. Throughout the semester, the students write in a variety of web genres such as short-form essays, listicles, and arts reviews.

hangmans_tree_webLike many online magazines, Galleon provides authors with opportunities to address everything from the election to the Memphis music scene. For example, Austin Essary tries to pin down the “Memphis Sound” and Berlin Howell outlines the best of Memphis music in 2015. What’s more, our students have tackled difficult political and social issues. For example, in her piece about the theology of lynching trees, Maya Freeman demonstrates the ways in which lynching continues to be a powerful image for African American communities. And Chase Encalade addresses the experience of being a young black person by interviewing her peers and contextualizing their thoughts with the larger movement for racial equality.

While the opportunity to publish is important, writing for the Galleon provides students with an opportunity to develop their voice and hone their writing skills. Austin says he learned a lot about the writing process and how long it takes to work interview subjects. Chase says her experience was “awesome and enriching.” And Morgan Harper is pleased that her post, “23 Ways You Know You’re a CBU Student”, became one of the most popular and widely shared articles. These experiences are invaluable for students who have to think critically about genre, medium, and audience.

SOA Alumni Making News

Not a StrangerCBU alum Dennis Foley (’82) wrote and produced not a Stranger, a drama about a down-and-out, 50-year-old former high school teacher with a dark secret who befriends three 12-year-old boys, and helps one come to grips with his father’s death. Problems arise when police suspect the teacher of wrongdoing. The film was directed by and stars James Russo (pictured left).



Our Grass Our RootsMichalyn Easter (History ’13), a recipient of a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, has returned to the Memphis area to teach high school Social Studies and to unite education with community activism in the city. She is the founder of Our Grass Our Roots, “a grassroots, non-profit movement to assist in transforming the North Memphis neighborhood into an economically sustainable, community focused, cultural capital that will be the grounds for fighting gentrification and citizen displacement, involving the community, structures and businesses already present, and nurturing the individuals within the community to help make Memphis a better place.”

Danielle Hobbs (Psychology ’13) was recently named Embarker of the Week by The New Memphis InstituteEmbark is bringing together and shaping Memphis’ next group of young professionals. Our Embark alum are high-performing twenty-something change-makers who work together to make a meaningful mark on our city. We recognize those Embarkers making ripples in their professions and communities.

Bryan Williams (MAT ’03) was named as one of Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40.

David Vaughn (Psychology ’12) and Kara Jones (Psychology ’12) were joined in marriage on Oct. 22.

SOA Faculty Making News

Kirstan-OHare-267x300Dr. Kristian O’Hare (Literature and Languages) received a writing fellowship from Lambda Literary and took part in their annual Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices. Lambda’s Retreat is among the country’s most competitive writer’s residencies and the only one specifically for LGBTQ writers. The retreat was held July 24 – 31, 2016 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

In October, Dr. O’Hare was awarded a residency at the Sundress Academy for the Arts at Firefly Farms in Knoxville, Tennessee. He spent the week of October 24-30th writing poetry and taking care of sheep, chickens, goats, and a donkey named Jayne.

This winter, San Francisco State University’s literary journal Fourteen Hills will publish Dr. O’Hare’s poem “Dowsing.”

carrierem_pic2Dr. Marius Carriere (History and Political Science) attended the Southern Historical Association Conference in St. Petersburg, FL and participated in a session on “New Insights into Understudied Aspects of the Civil War.” He also presented a paper about Americans and War entitled, “The Road to Secession, Louisiana Politics in the 1850s,” at the Ohio Valley History Conference. He was joined by adjunct professor Doug Cupples who presented a paper entitled, “The Union Occupation of Memphis during the Civil War.”

Dr. Seth Lee‘s (Literature and Languages) article, “Edmund Spenser’s Mind of Exile and Colonial Apologetics,” will appear in Studies in English Literature in February. Additionally, his monograph, The Discourse of Exile and National Identity in Early Modern England, is now under contract with Routledge. The project defines and traces the development of the mens exili in a variety of authors, groups, and genres including Geoffrey Chaucer and Edmund Spenser, the Lollards, Elizabethan Catholic exiles and the Marian exiles. The book provides a clearer understanding of exile as an important part of the development of a modern English national identity, and it demonstrates how the experience of exile, filtered through literary consciousness, influenced both the imaginative and the polemic literature of the Reformation.

Nick Peña’s (Visual and Performing Arts) artwork was featured in Fubiz, one of the largest online magazines in France, in an article entitled “Quirky Painting Juxtapositions.”

Dr. Jeff Sable (Behavioral Sciences) had a short paper published in the Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education entitled, ”Cognitive Neuroscience and Single-Word Processing“. It’s published in a new format of theirs called “Amazing Papers in Neuroscience” and is freely available online.



Dr. Colby Taylor (Behavioral Sciences) will appear as a contestant on Jeopardy on January 10th! Be sure to tune in and set your DVRs to record!


The following faculty were recognized at this year’s Convocation:

  • Ms. Jana Travis (Visual and Performing Arts): The Harold R. Krelstein Chair in Performing Arts & Communication
  • Dr. James “Bru” Wallace (Religion and Philosophy): The Brother Bernard Lococo Presidential Chair
  • Dr. Alison Lukowski (Literature and Languages): New Advisor of the Year
  • Dr. Samantha Alperin (Education): Promoted to Professor
  • Dr. Richard “Cort” Casey (Education): Promoted to Associate Professor
  • Dr. Jeffrey Gross (Literature and Languages): Promoted to Associate Professor
  • Mr. Matthew Hamner (Visual and Performing Arts): Awarded Tenure
  • Dr. Benjamin Jordan (History and Political Science): Promoted to Associate Professor; awarded Tenure
  • Mr. Nicholas Pena (Visual and Performing Arts): Awarded Tenure

Pictures from Convocation can be found here.

Galleon Buzz

New Picture (4)

CBU’s digital news magazine, The Galleon, which takes its name from the University’s former yearbook, has been up and running for a year now. Curated by CBU’s Marketing and Communications Office, the magazine draws on contributions from CBU’s students, staff, and faculty. Stories are written and selected by an editorial board, which is composed mostly of faculty and students from the Department of Literature and Languages, including junior Morgan Harper and sophomore Chase K. Encalade, who are both English for Corporate Communications majors, and sophomore Berlin Howell, who is a Creative Writing major.

Over the course of this past semester they’ve written dozens of articles including Berlin’s reviews of David Bowie’s Blackstar, and Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight; Morgan’s essays on autism awareness and the diversity of digital media content; and Chase’s investigation of the pervasiveness of sexual assault in our culture and a survey of CBU’s students asking them, “What’s it like being black?”


Credit: Mary Campbell

Members of our School of Arts faculty have also contributed some great articles including Dr. Leigh Johnson’s (who serves on the Galleon Editorial Board) dissection of the current political landscape; an excerpt of Dr. Ben Jordan’s new book: Modern Manhood and The Boy Scouts of America: Citizenship, Race, and The Environment; Dr. Neal Palmer’s take on the Memphis media’s storytelling responsibilities during Black History Month; and Dr. Emily Holmes and Dr. Mary Campbell’s reflection on their time in Cambodia.

We’re very proud of this partnership with the Marketing and Communications Office and thankful to them for providing a platform on which the CBU community can express our diverse ideas and experiences, and on which our writing students can hone their skills. Considering the quality of the work during the inaugural year, the future of the magazine looks bright.

Farewell, Brother Francisco!

Br. FranciscoBrother Francisco is officially retiring and moving back to his Home Province in the Eastern North America District to join the Brothers community at De La Salle Hall in Lincroft, NJ. He has an established relationship with this community of Brothers and he also has family in the area.

His new address is:
De La Salle Hall Community
810 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft, NJ 07738-1608.

He writes:

Dear friends,

I had the better years of my life among you and because of you. It was a pleasure for me to serve you; you motivated me to do my Lasallian apostolate. The separation from CBU is very hard, but I assure you that you will all be in my thoughts and my prayers. If you have a special need or intention, please don’t hesitate to communicate with me, because I will intensify my prayers. Students, have a nice graduation, have a great, useful and happy life in Jesus. Never forget your good days at CBU!

Your Brother,

Click here to read a profile of Brother Francisco from a 2010 issue of the Bell Tower alumni magazine »»

CBU Writing Center Implements New Programing

New Picture (1)Dr. Clayann Gilliam Panetta, 2016 Writing Center Director, recently attended and delivered a presentation at the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication, held in Houston, TX April 6-9. Dr. Panetta’s presentation, “The Risks of Systematized Writing on Our Composition Classes: Lessons from Northern Ireland,” was centered on the standardized testing of writing, a common practice of the Common Core process through secondary schools in the United States. She argued that this systemization of writing is contrary to the core of composition programming, ignoring the multiple cultural nuances that make writing individualized and successful. This secondary school practice, though, claims to better prepare students for entry into the Academy, a claim that is not evident in first-year composition classrooms to date.

Alongside Dr. Panetta, Jonathan Worley, Writing Centre director at St. Mary’s University College in Belfast, Ireland, discussed the decades-old trend of systemization of writing measurement in secondary schools in Northern Ireland, showing the long detrimental effects of the practice on Northern Ireland student writers entering college. Dr. Panetta used this evidence to argue the systemization of composition in the United States risks the same detrimental effects on student writers. She proposed a movement toward a human development of what makes good writing and used efforts by CBU to demonstrate ways institutions of higher learning can collaborate with secondary schools to help students truly be better prepared for writing in the Academy.

Furthermore, Dr.  Panetta, and Writing Center consultant, Mary Clark joined Dr. Scott Lawyer’s MBA students and presented information about our Writing Center services and offered basic writing advice to the new cohorts of MBA students. This presentation was a result of a new collaboration between the Writing Center and the CBU MBA program, instituted by Dr. Lawyer, who was interested in giving his students improved “scope” of their assignments and what is expected in the program. His new interest was motivated by several success stories from MBA students who have attended recent Writing Center sessions. Dr. Lawyer provides the following example:

“During the first term of this semester, one of the students in our new Healthcare Management MBA program sought the assistance of Dr. Panetta’s Writing Center, and she vastly improved her case as a result of that assistance. In fact, she received a perfect score on her case.”

This collaboration and outreach is a part of an ongoing effort to expand CBU Writing Center services to better meet the communicative needs of the entire CBU campus.


Erik Larson

CBU and the Booksellers at Laurelwood hosted a Memphis Reads event featuring Erik Larson, author of five New York Times bestsellers, most recently Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, which hit #1 on the Times list soon after launch. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.


Faculty Making News

Dr. Samantha Alperin, (Chair, Education) presented at the Diocesan summer and fall in-services on “Teaching Without the Text.” She has recently been appointed to the board of St. Paul’s, the CBHS President’s Council, and the Committee for Accreditation and School Excellence through the Diocese which works toward planning and improvement for system accreditation.

Dr. Frank Buscher (History & Political Science), along with Dr. Juan Carlos Olabe (Electrical & Computer Engineering), attended the International Symposium on Lasallian Research from September 27-29 at the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus in Minneapolis. More than 120 Lasallian educators and scholars from numerous countries gathered to present and discuss current research. The Superior General of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Brother Robert Schieler, was the keynote speaker.

Dr. Marius Carriere (History & Political Science) attended “The Symposium of the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression” at U.T. Chattanooga. He is a member of the Symposium’s Executive Committee.

Mrs. Hollie Comas (LANCE Director) has announced her retirement as of December. Ms. Colleen Boyette, Education’s administrative assistant and university supervisor of student and intern teachers, will take her place starting in January. Colleen comes to us from a previous position OLPH. She was an Lasallian Volunteer in Freeport, NY, and received her Master’s degree in educational leadership from Notre Dame before returning to Memphis. She is a graduate of St. Agnes and CBU.

Dr. Cort Casey (Education) and Professor Nancy Wilder (Education) attended the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) conference in Washington, DC in September, and on behalf of CBU’s Department of Education, are happy to announce that the Selected Improvement Commission of CAEP granted NCATE accreditation to the Department at the initial teacher preparation and advanced preparation levels. As noted in their report, “This accreditation decision indicates that the department and its programs meet rigorous standards set forth by the professional education community.” The next accreditation visit will be in Spring 2022.

Dr. Karen Golightly (Literature & Languages) was awarded The Brother Bernard LoCoco Presidential Chair. Dr. Golightly recently organized the Paint Memphis event on July 18, which brought together more than 50 artists to create the largest collaborative mural in town on the south side of the Wolf River flood wall that runs .3 miles along the proposed Chelsea Greenline in the New Chicago/North Midtown neighborhood. More information (and photos) are available at or The project was covered extensively in The Commercial Appeal, and she also appeared on Local Memphis Live on September 30 to discuss PaintMemphis and CBU’s Fresh Reads and Memphis Reads programs, which recently brought author Dave Eggars and Sudanese lost boy Valentino Achak Deng to Memphis.

Paint Memphis

Dr. Jeffrey Gross (Literature & Languages) was awarded CBU’s Outstanding Academic Advisor Award.

Matthew Hamner (Visual & Performing Arts) was interviewed on WKNO’s Listening to the Arts about his participation in “The Laramie Project-10 Years Later,” which was produced by New Moon Theater Company at the Evergreen Theater in Memphis in June of 2015.

jordan_modernDr. Benjamin Jordan’s (History & Political Science) book, Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America: Citizenship, Race, and the Environment, 1910-1930, is coming out with the University of North Carolina Press in April 2016. In this illuminating look at gender and Scouting in the United States, Dr. Jordan examines how, in its founding and early rise, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) integrated traditional Victorian manhood with modern, corporate-industrial values and skills.


Nick Peña (Visual & Performing Arts) was awarded The Harold R. Krelstein Chair In Performing Arts & Communications. His exhibition, Crosscut,” was recently on display (Aug.-Oct.) in the Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery in CBU’s Plough Library.

Pena Crosscut


Teaching NeuroscienceDr. Jeff Sable (Behavioral Sciences) authored two chapters in Teaching Neuroscience: Practical Activities for an Engaged Classroom, a freely available e-book published on September 10 by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Division 2 of the American Psychological Association). Each chapter describes a “classroom” activity Dr. Sable developed, including one he developed at CBU as part of PSYC 225 Biological Psychology. In it, the Buckman Quadrangle becomes a giant virtual nerve cell in which students take on roles as its working parts.

Students Making News

A Brown - Joel BrownCBU celebrated Constitution Day on Thursday on September 17 with the valuable assistance of the CBU Pre-Law Society. Angelica Brown (English for Corporate Communications ’18) and Joel Moore (English for Corporate Communications ’17) distributed pocket editions of the U.S. Constitution to the CBU community in front of Alfonso Dining Hall and the Buc. This year, antique-style reproductions of the Declaration of Independence were also available. Dr. Karl Leib (Associate Professor, History & Political Science, and Pre-Law Advisor) was on hand to answer questions about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.

The Gulf South Conference named Lady Buc outside hitter Alexis Gillis (Visual Arts ’17) as its Offensive Player of the Week for the period ending September 30 after she broke the school record for kills. For the week, Gillis averaged 4.62 kills per set, pounding 60 kills and hitting .233 with 34 digs in 13 sets. She started the week with 17 kills and 11 digs in a five-set loss at Lee Tuesday night. Friday night, she set a new school record with 32 kills, hitting .366 with 14 digs as the Lady Bucs upended Alabama Huntsville in five sets. She concluded the week with 11 kills, nine digs and four blocks in a three-set loss to first-place North Alabama Saturday afternoon.

The Gulf South Conference also named Lady Buc midfielder Connie Strini (Early Childhood ’19) as its Freshman of the Week for the period ending September 30 after she led the Lady Bucs to a 1-1 week. Strini played all 90 minutes and scored two second-half goals in the Lady Bucs’ win over Spring Hill. She also played all 90 minutes in a loss to West Florida.

Rakesha Gray (English ’17), John Dawson (Business Administration ’16), and Angel Rodriguez (Cybersecurity ’18), were honored by the Division of Student Life with the CBU Spirit Awards.

Anthony Maranise, OblSB (Religion & Philosophy ’11, Catholic Studies ’17) was recently invited to submit an article on the theology of sports and recreation to the summer 2015 issue of Church Health Reader, the official publication of Memphis’ own Church Health Center. Also, his recent paper entitled “Welcomed as Christ: Immigration Through the Lens of Benedictine Hospitality” has been accepted for publication in a forthcoming (yet undetermined) issue of Benedictines, a journal of contemporary monastic issues published by the Sisters of Mount Saint Scholastica in Atchison, KS.

Daryl Stephens

Daryl Stephens (top, 2nd from right), Dr. Hanebrink (not pictured)

Daryl Stephens (Psychology ’14, Uganda site manager) was one of several participants in the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) program who presented their summer-abroad research on September 19. and Dr. Julia Hanebrink (Psychology ’01, Uganda site director). The MHIRT program at CBU provides international research training opportunities to qualified undergraduate, graduate, and medical students from socially or economically disadvantaged groups who have been historically underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research careers.

Phi Alpha ThetaThe CBU chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society, held its induction on October 6. Pictured above (l-r) are new initiates Jackson Brumfield (History ’18) and Jumari Callaway (History ’17) with Amy Rohling, President (History ’17); Mustafa Hmood, Treasurer (History ’16); and Katie Lewis, Secretary (History ’16).

Lasallian FellowsCBU has named (above l-r) Mustafa Hmood (History ’16), Ian Boyd (English ’16), Sara Swisher (English ’16), Kierra Turner (Accounting ’16) and Rebecca Wauford (Mechanical Engineering ’16) as its 2016 Class of CBU Lasallian Fellows. The 2016 Fellows were introduced to the CBU Community at the Academic Convocation on August 27 (pictured above with Dr. John Smarrelli, CBU President).

CBU Lasallian Fellowships are presented annually to five members of the senior class based upon the reflection of Lasallian values in their scholarship, leadership, and service. Each student was nominated by a member of the CBU faculty or staff because of academic excellence, commitment to social justice, the active nature of his or her faith, and an inspired approach to change-making.

Upon graduation, the Fellows will be awarded $10,000 as a means of perpetuating their work in the community. The Fellowships are made possible through the creative generosity of Joyce Mollerup and Robert Buckman. (They also now appear, much larger than life, on the west wall of the Thomas Center.)