Photo courtesy of: The Office of University Advancement
Jan 26, 2012
When budget cuts put the life of the Ohio University Press/Swallow Press in jeopardy, two university professors jumped in to insure that the press could not only continue production, but be able to maintain its reputation of excellence as a university press.
The Charles J. Ping Professor of Humanities, Professor of Classics, and the chair of Classics and World Religion Department Tom Carpenter and Trustee Professor of English Literature Sam Crowl founded The Cecil Hemley Society in December 2010, to support the press, which is named in honor of its first professional editor. Society members include faculty, staff, alumni and friends who provide the press with financial, professional, and intellectual support.
Crowl says professors in the humanities and the social sciences have a natural passion for presses.
“It’s just what we do. We write books and we read others as we pursue the way in which we contribute to the creation of knowledge,” he said.
The group quickly amassed 20 members and hopes to welcome 30 more individuals within the next year, said Crowl. When asked why he feels so compelled to support the Press, Crowl laughed and he pointed to a row of his books nestled in shelves on the wall. His answer is simple.
“Nothing means more to faculty in the humanities than books! They’re our lifeblood. Forming the Society is a natural way to support something that I believe in and that I love,” he said.
Crowl added that the press is one of the reasons he was attracted to Ohio University 40 years ago.
“The existence of the press was a mark of excellence for this University—it showed that it took learning and scholarship seriously,” he said.
Carpenter cited the multitude of benefits the University receives from the work of the press as his reason for being a society member.
“The press is an important part of Ohio University because in education, it isn’t the money that matters as much as what we as educators—we as thinkers—do. If we start losing our presses, then we can’t publish anymore,” he said. “University presses are particularly vital because they don’t depend on the commercial business model and therefore can provide a venue for ideas that would not otherwise reach a public.
Many books published by the press are reviewed by The New York Times and other major publications and journals, Carpenter explained. He then summed up the society’s reason for being.
“Books are crucial, so presses are crucial,” he said.
A celebration of the Ohio University Press will be held in Baker University Center, Room 219, from 3 – 5 p.m on Friday, Feb. 3, as the second annual Emeriti Day.
Authors of two current publications will speak:
Ian Adams, author of "A Photographers' Guide to Ohio," will illustrate his talk with pictures.
Katherine Ziff will introduce her book about the Athens Lunatic Asylum, "Asylum on the Hill," which will be available later in February.
Staff of the Press will tell us about current and future publications. Sam Crowl will review some of the history of the Press and current efforts to assure its continuation, including the Cecil Hemley Society.
Books will be available for purchase.