BFA Showcase

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts showcased the work of its 2016 BFA graduates at a one-night exhibition at Marshall Arts. The exhibit featured works by Alexi Blum, Jacob Brunner, Sheridan Cross, Morgan Granoski, Walter Harris, Tawanda Jones, and Seth Loomis.


castings_coverIn conjunction with the exhibit, CBU’s Castings Journalcelebrated its 2016 release.

For those who were not able to attend, an online edition can be found HERE. Students and work selected for prizes in the 2016 Castings journal can be found in the list below:




1st Place: “Overtime” by Savannah Austin
2nd Place: “Stages” by Jennifer Davidson
3rd Place: “Morning Time” by Savannah Austin

1st Place: “Withering” by Olivia Betterton
2nd Place: “The Losing Man” by Jessica Love
3rd Place: “Mississippi Station” by Seth Loomis

Digital Photography
1st Place: Top 5 Ways to Beat the Stay-at-Home-Mom Blues by Morgan Granoski
2nd Place: Foggy Woods by Ethan Hart
3rd Place: Serenity by Shannon McKee

Fine Art
1st Place: Play with Me by Taylor Bing
2nd Place: Skeletal by Megan Mosier
3rd Place: Post-Shower Ritual by Morgan Granoski

Faculty judges for this year’s Castings journal included Dr. Ann Marie Wranovix, Dr. Vincent O’Neill, Dr. Jeff Gross, Dr. Kristian O’Hare, Jana Travis, and Nick Pena.



Jana Gallery

Place Keepers, an exhibit of paintings by Memphis artists Elizabeth Garat and CBU Associate Professor of Visual Arts, Jana Travis, runs through May 14 at Annesdale Park Gallery. Professor Travis’s colorful and energetic abstract paintings are often multimedia creations. “My work,” she writes in her artist statement, “is heavily influenced by the constantly evolving effects of nature and the chaotic influences it has on our changing world.” You can learn more about Professor Travis and her work on her website.



Evening of Scenes

On April 28th and 29th, students in Assistant Professor Mathew Hamner’s acting class produced scenes from the following plays: David Auburn’s Proof, Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men, and Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. Featuring: Khadijah Green, Jarvis Sumlin, Emanuel Castellan, Precious Futch, Eric Johnson, Charles Moses, Jennifer Pearman, Tylan Peterson, Darious Robertson, David Ruiz-Padilla, Constance Strini, Grant Thompson, and Alonta Tripp.

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.)

Past Events

Propagand StanleyThe CBU Department of Religion & Philosophy hosted a lecture by Jason Stanley on “Propaganda, Race, and Mass Incarceration” on Thursday, November 12 in Spain Auditorium. History regards Stalin with horror for incarcerating such a large percentage of the population of his country in forced labor camps. Yet the current US incarceration rate rivals that of Soviet citizens sent to forced labor camps during the worst period of Stalin’s Gulags. If we are to address the problem of mass incarceration, we must change the political culture that has allowed us to demonize and dehumanize so many of our fellow citizens. This talk was an attempt to understand the propaganda that has hidden from us a reality that history will condemn. Jason Stanley is Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of How Propaganda Works (Princeton UP, 2015). He donates a portion of the proceeds from his lectures and the sale of his book to the Prison Policy Initiative. The event was co-sponsored by the University of Memphis Philosophy Department and Rhodes College Africana Studies Program.

Sylvia-1The Visual and Performing Arts department proudly presented A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia, November 5-8 in CBU’s University Theater. The play featured Alani Lee, Corey Parker, Elizabeth Hayes, Darious Robertson, Kierra Turner, and Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald.

The Story: Greg and Kate have moved to Manhattan after twenty-two years of child-raising in the suburbs. Greg’s career as a financial trader is winding down, while Kate’s career, as a public-school English teacher, is beginning to offer her more opportunities. Greg brings home a dog he found in the park—or that has found him—bearing only the name “Sylvia” on her name tag. Sylvia becomes a major bone of contention between husband and wife. She offers Greg an escape from the frustrations of his job and the unknowns of middle age. To Kate, Sylvia becomes a rival for affection. And Sylvia thinks Kate just doesn’t understand the relationship between man and dog. The marriage is put in serious jeopardy until, after a series of hilarious and touching complications, Greg and Kate learn to compromise, and Sylvia becomes a valued part of their lives.

In Memoriam

The CBU Community mourns the sudden passing of Daniel Messinger, Administrative & Licensing Officer Assistant in the Department of Education, on Easter Sunday.


Dan graduated from CBU with a degree in Marketing in 1999 and earned his MBA in 2003. He leaves his wife, Stephanie Raniszewski Messinger (’97, MBA ’99) and their daughter, Evie, as well as sister-in-law Tricia Raniszewski Swaney (’01), brother-in-law David Swaney (’01), mother-in-law Rita Raniszewski (Education Department, MBA ’07 & MEd ’15) and father-in-law Edward Raniszewski (’76).


Family and friends have set up a memorial fund for his daughter, Evie. Memorial donations can be sent to:

Fund for Evie
c/o Joshua Shipley
Vice President, Commercial Lending
Independent Bank
5050 Poplar Avenue, Suite 2200
Memphis, TN 38157

A meal scheduling site has been set up to support Stephanie and Evie during this difficult time, and members of the CBU Community can volunteer at

Please keep Dan’s family and the extended Raniszewski family in your thoughts and prayers.

Brother MattBrother Matthew Szatkowski passed away on Tuesday, January 27 at Villa Scalabrini in Sun Valley, CA. A De La Salle Christian Brother for 57 years, Brother Matt taught theater arts and speech at CBU from 1987 to 2009. After his retirement he lived in Los Angeles and most recently at Villa Scalabrini.

A graduate of De La Salle Institute in Chicago, Brother Matt entered the novitiate of the Brothers in Glencoe, MO. He professed his first vows in 1959 and his final vows in 1966. He earned his BA and MEd from St. Mary’s College in Winona, MN, an MA from the University of Notre Dame, and an MFA from Memphis State University.

Survivors include his brother James Szatkowski of Clarkston, WA; niece Cynthia Szatkowski of Camarillo, CA; and the De La Salle Christian Brothers. He donated his body to science.

Please keep Brother Matt, his family, and the Christian Brothers in your thoughts and prayers. Donations may be sent to the De La Salle Christian Brothers Retirement Fund (7650 S. County Line Rd., Burr Ridge, IL 60527).

Castings Journal Winners Announced

Sandy Hook Yard Sale
First Place Poetry by Jessica Love

The tables are full of their children.
Ripped jeans lay folded
in neat stacks,
whispers of fun shouting
from each torn thread.
Stuffed horses and lions
hold each other,
remembering the grip
of small hands.
Sticky books with syrupy pages
rest in a pile,
words sounded out
through their bindings.
Empty cups nestle in columns,
with smiles pouring out through
bite-marked rims saying,
“That’s mine.”
Backpacks worn with life,
cradle each other in perfect rows,
while limp sweaters and jackets
hang on a line,
shivering, wasting warmth.
And twenty pairs of tennis shoes
stand at the sidewalk,
with soles that seem to skip in place.

Desolation Compressed

First Place Digital Art: Sreenath Shanker “Desolation”








Up in Smoke

First Place Prose by Natalie Zaldivar

The cramped kitchen smelt like mold and stagnant cigarette smoke. The yellowed tile was cold against my feet and the early morning light fell through the broken blinds in splotchy, splintered waves of gray. I stood quiet as the hot water warmed my hands bright pink. I scrubbed the congealed grease from corners of an old Tupperware container. I didn’t hear Nan’s soft shuffle from her bedroom to the couch, but I finished the last of the dishes before she sat down.

“Magpie,” she wheezed. “Get your little ass in here.”

I dropped the dishtowel on the counter and walked into the living room. Nan sat in her usual spot on the couch, cocooned in an orange afghan, her oxygen tank sitting at her feet. She was so small but the thick wool swaddling her made her seem puffy and swollen. The tubes running up through her nose gleamed blue in the dark living room, and I choked.

“I done told you, Magpie,” Nan hissed. “I can wash my own goddamn dishes. I appreciate you staying with me, but I don’t need a babysitter. I’m seventy-eight years old, Maggie. I can wash my own dishes.”

“I know, Nan.” I grabbed two blankets and a pillow from the floor, folded them and placed them beneath the coffee table; Nan had a one-bedroom house and I didn’t mind sleeping on the floor most nights.

Nan scooted forward in her seat and reached for her pack of King-size Winston’s. Her fingers were long and crooked and as the afghan dragged back along her hand, my eyes traced the scribbled veins that seemed to glow through her paper skin.

I grabbed the cigarette pack before Nan could and gently set one in between her lips before taking my own. “Nan, you’ve got only five left in here.” I threw the pack onto the table and grabbed a lighter. “Think you’ll be okay with that until tomorrow? I’m staying with Chino tonight.” I lit my cigarette and exhaled slowly, letting the smoke singe the tip of tongue.

Nan snatched the cheap lighter from my hand in a flash of white and orange. “Yeah, I’ll be okay with five.” She lit her cigarette and closed her eyes. Every long, hungry drag from the Winston left her lungs whistling.

“You keep on, Nan. Get them pancake-lungs full of smoke.” I took a drag and stood up, grabbing my car keys off the table.

“If I wanted to hear shit talk, I’d go sit in the bathroom.” Nan’s laugh was a strangled breeze.

I slipped my coat on before kissing Nan’s cheek. “I love you, you old hag.”

She let out a soft chuckled and sighed. Her face hardened. “I love you too, Magpie. And you be careful. You know I don’t like Chino.”



First Place Fine Art: Morgan Granoski “Skirt”

The air was biting cold and my chest ached. I parked on the curb and made my way up Chino’s rickety porch. The mesh part of the screen door was broken and hanging low above the doorknob, and the front door itself had busted locks.

Chino and the guys were huddled in the living room, splitting open plastic-wrapped bricks with pocketknives and weighing out the powder into eight balls.

“Hey Maggie.” Chino cut his eyes at me for a moment then went back to weighing the product. “You want to help us weigh out or do you want to make me some sweet plantains?”

I sat on the arm of couch and kissed Chino’s cheek. The stubble on his face was uneven and ragged; it looked like thick steel wire sprouting out of his chin.  He smelled like warm milk and sweat. “I’ll make you some food.

Chino’s house was much like Nan’s, in regards that it was small and rotting. The whole house smelt like damp wood and over-ripened fruit, and the wooden floor in the kitchen was warped because Chino had never fixed the leak in the ceiling. Rain left the kitchen humid and sticky, water dripping off the ceiling in one steady stream.

While I waited for the skillet and the oil to heat up, I grabbed the last of Chino’s plantains. The skin was tough and green, and they would need at least another week before they were ripe. I massaged them hard with my fingers and beat them against the countertop until they were soft before slicing them and throwing them into the skillet.

Chino and I had met a few years back, before Nan’s emphysema got bad. He was a large man, dark-skinned, and quiet. We were friends in high school but didn’t get close until I started smoking weed. He sold it to me ten bucks cheaper than street price because I wasn’t a regular blanca. Romance was never his thing, but he was soft around me. Called me Nene and let his grimy hand sit on my hip.

The only times he got jumpy were nights like tonight; all of the guys got trigger happy when new shipments came in. They would sit in the living room all night and package every ounce it, occasionally dipping their finger into it and rubbing the powder along their gums.

I was never much of a cokehead; uppers and tweakers just weren’t my thing. Chino loved it, though. When the shipments came in, before breaking the product down, Chino would cut five lines and knock them back, one after the other. Whenever he sneezed, I imagined his septum flying out of his nose, half-rotten, glistening in a pile of blow and blood spewing onto his hands.

That’s why he let me help weigh everything out; I never snorted product.

As the plantains were nearly finished frying, I heard Chino pacing, the boards creaking under his heavy steps.

“No man. I never seen it like this before. Look at that shit in the light, man. Looks almost like gold.”

I turned the stove off and put all of the plantains on a plate, cramming one into my mouth. They tasted bland. Needed salt.

“Yeah yeah yeah, man. We can sell it for thirty extra bucks a hit. Everyone’s going to want some of this shit.”

I poured the hot oil down the drain and left the skillet in the sink to soak before grabbing the plate. Because of the water-warped floor, the wood muted anytime someone entered the kitchen. I noticed the silence when the living room floorboards stopped squeaking but I didn’t think he’d walk into the kitchen. I turned around and stepped forward, smashing into Chino. We collided head-on, arms fumbling and the plate shattering on the soft wood. Chino dropped the plastic wrapped brick in his hands as he stumbled backwards and the kitchen glittered thick with gold powder.

“Chino, I-“ my throat swelled shut. I pulled my shirt over my mouth and watched Chino stare at the ground, before his eyes slowly locked on me.

“I didn’t mean to. It was an accident.”

His fist was hard against my cheek, but when I hit the ground my hand found a jagged piece of plate. I scrambled to my feet and as Chino lunged at me, I jammed the piece of plate down until I felt it pop into his muscle. He wailed and grabbed his left calf while I ran out of the house.


I slept in my car, parked outside of a twenty-four hour fitness center. My left brow was split and the thin flesh around my eye was purple and swollen. A pink web of broken capillaries throbbed beneath my eye every time I blinked. The sky  was clear and the sunlight was pastel. I opened my glove box, pulled out a velvet drawstring bag and shoved it in my pocket. I started the car and drove home.

I parked halfway down the street. Chino’s black charger wasn’t there. I squinted and examined the living room window. Looked like someone had thrown a rock through it.

I opened the door. “Nan?”

The sunlight poured in through the busted window, tinting the house gold instead of grey. Nan was sitting on the couch, nestled into a white fluffy blanket.

“I knew that motherfucker put his hands on you.” The deep wrinkles above her lip twitched. “Makes me feel good now.” She flicked her hand toward the empty cigarette pack.

“I’m sorry, Nan. I forgot to stop by the gas station.” I took the velvet bag out of my pocket and tossed it. “You look like a fucking cotton ball.” I chuckled and stooped down, picking up all the glass that would fit in my hands.

I stood and we were quiet for a moment. Her face softened and the ends of her thin mouth fell. Her eyes glassed over, but she wiped the tears away before they fell. I had only seen Nan cry once before, when her three-legged Yorkie died. Buford. He’d run out into the street chasing a squirrel. Chino and I had been there. He dug a hole in the backyard while I stood with Nan under my arm, face crumpled inward in a mess of wrinkles and tears. Chino snorted two bumps right after he buried Buford and Nan threatened to beat his ass bloody.

“That shit,” she snarled, “is for deadbeats. Sellin’ it or snortin’ it, it’ll kill you either way. Get the hell off my property.”

That was four years ago.

I rubbed my temples and winced, the skin beneath my eyes throbbing. “I’m sorry, Nan. I thought he’d know better than to come here-“

“Go on into the kitchen and get the alcohol. You can’t go no where with your face all bloody.” Nan’s mouth was a hard line.

The smell had been faint in the living room, but when I walked into the kitchen, the heavy metallic fumes made my stomach lurch. The glass from the back door had been broken and there was dried blood caked on the tile.

I steadied myself on the counter until my head stopped spinning. I opened the medicine cabinet and grabbed the alcohol, some bandages, and a rag. There was a bloody knife sitting in the kitchen sink.

“Nan, what happened last night?” My voice cracked as I sat next to her and put the alcohol on the table.

Nan placed the velvet bag on the coffee table and patted her legs. I laid my head in her lap and kept my eyes on my feet.

She dipped the rag in alcohol and stroked my cheek. “That spic showed up here around midnight, making a ruckus and beating on the damn door. He was screaming for you. ‘Maggie, this. Maggie that.’”

She pressed the rag against my brow and I flinched. “’Maggie ain’t here,’ I told him. But he kept on and on. Running ‘round the house, breaking windows, trying to see if you were hiding somewhere. So I called your Uncle Henry and told him to get his ass over here.”

She seemed to spit her words. “Chino was getting mad. He started to threaten me and I wasn’t having that, so I made it into the kitchen and grabbed that knife. Had it in my right hand and when he punched through the damn window on the kitchen door and opened it, I stabbed the motherfucker.”

She slapped a bandage over my cut and I sat up.

“Henry and his son came, saw him, and handled the rest. I picked up most of glass. Meant to clean the kitchen up before you got home, but I got tired of wheeling this thing all over the house.” She nudged her oxygen tank as she emptied the velvet bag onto the table: two grams and a peach cigarillo. She split the rillo and poured the guts into an ashtray before licking it’s edges.

I grabbed the alcohol and rag and put them back in the kitchen. The blood in the kitchen sink looked like strawberry jam: bright and clotted. I turned the hot water on.

Nan choked, then exhaled. “Magpie, don’t you touch a damn thing. Come out here.”

I left the water running and stood in the doorway.

“Sit down, Magpie. Come here and smoke this with me.” She coughed hard and her small frame shook, her feet knocking against her oxygen tank. “I’m seventy-eight years old, damnit. I can do my own dishes. Sit down, Magpie.”

And I did.



Faculty Making News

Dr. Libby Broadwell (Professor, Literature and Languages) presented a paper entitled “Phoenix Jackson’s Repurposed Umbrella: An Ecocritical Reading of Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” at the Tennessee Philological Annual Conference in Henderson, TN, in February 2015.

Dr. Jeff Gross (Assistant Professor, Literature and Languages) presented a paper, “Teaching African American Literature in the Age of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown,” at the College English Association Annual Conference in Indianapolis.

Dr. Paul Haught (Dean, School of Arts, Associate Professor) along with Dr. Eric Welch (Electrical Engineering) presented their research on CBU’s STEM educational outreach programs at the second annual meeting of Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering (SRPoiSE). The meeting took place in Detroit, and the title of their presentation was “Educating Minds and Touching Hearts: Adventures in STEM Educational Outreach.”

On November 20, 2014, Dr. Emily Holmes (Associate Professor, Religion and Philosophy) read from and signed copies of her book, Flesh Made Word: Medieval Women Mystics, Writing, and the Incarnation (Baylor University Press, 2013). The event was sponsored by the President’s Commission on Women and held in Plough Library. Furthermore, Dr. Holmes was the guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Theology & Sexuality on the theme of “maternality.” In addition to editing, she contributed the introduction to the special issue, “On Maternality, Between Theology and Sexuality.” Theology & Sexuality 19:3 (2013): 195–202.

Little Free LibraryMaybe you’ve already noticed the little wooden “house” outside St. Joseph Hall. It’s CBU’s new “Little Free Library.” If you’re not familiar with the Little Free Library movement, it’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. CBU’s Little Free Library is the brainchild of Dr. Kelly James (Assistant Professor, Behavioral Science), who has already stocked it and is in the process of registering it with the international organization. By the way, our Little Free Library is the 15th one in Memphis — check out the map of all locations around the world. So, go ahead, take a book, CBU. (And don’t forget to return a book.)

Dr. Kelly James also lead a discussion on consent, sexual activity, and the dynamics between women and men on March 26 as part of the Women’s History Month Series at CBU.

An article by Dr. Karl Leib (Associate Professor, History & Political Science), entitled “State Sovereignty in Space: Current Models and Possible Futures,” has been published in the journal Astropolitics.

A huge thank you to all of the CBU students who helped out with Cheer for the Kids this year. Over 50 CBU students volunteered their time at the 8th annual event to help raise enough money for Make-A-Wish of the Mid-South to grant approximately five wishes. A special thank you to CBU student Mauricio Ramirez (Psychology) for all of his involvement over the past year in helping plan the 2015 event.

Cheer for the Kids is a grassroots non-profit organization founded by Chanda S. Murphy (Instructor, Behavioral Sciences) and fellow Memphian Ashley Bradford to help raise awareness and money for local child-focused philanthropy organizations. For more information or to get involved with Cheer for the Kids please visit

Dr. Brendan Prawdzik’s (Assistant Professor, Literature and Languages) article “Marvell’s Phenomenal Spirituality and the Processes of History: ‘Eyes of Tears’ and The Remarks upon a Late Disingenuous Discourse,” has been acccepted for publicaton in Explorations in Renaissance Culture, date TBA.Dr. Prawdzik also presented his paper “Sexual Violence and Civil War in ‘To His Coy Mistress’” at Exploring the Renaissance: An International Conference [SCRC], in Raleigh, NC, this past March. And will be presenting his paper “Samson Agonistes: Passion’s Looking-Glass” at the International Milton Symposium, Exeter, UK, in July of this year.


SThe CBU Honors Program, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, and Students With Artistic Talent (SWAT club) team up each year on ArtBreak, a unique opportunity for students to learn about a particular artist or art medium. Led by Professor Nick Peña, Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts, the event is very popular and a welcome break from the books.


Because of the imminent demolition of CBU’s Kenrick Hall, this year’s ArtBreak was a fond farewell to the grand old building. And what better way to say goodbye than with graffiti? Professor Pena was joined by well-known Memphis mural artists Brandon Marshall and Michael Roy, who gave the students a short lesson on graffiti art. After the lesson, the artists painted a signature mural on the north wall while students employed their newly learned skills to leave their mark everywhere else.