Genesis of the
Illinois Philological Association
by Frank McCormick
Faculty in the departments of English and Foreign Languages at Eastern Illinois University first discussed the feasibility
of forming a state philological association in a series of informal meetings on the EIU
campus in Fall '95 and Spring '96. With encouragement from Eastern's Dean of Arts and
Humanities Jim Johnson and former Dean of Graduate School Tom Gladsky, Eastern's IPA
steering committee agreed to pursue the idea.
In a March 1996 mailing, Jim Quivey, in his capacity as chair
of Eastern's Department of English, invited chairs of public and private institutions
throughout the state to send delegates to an April 17, 1996, meeting of the IPA Planning
Committee on the campus of EIU in Charleston. At the April meeting--chaired by Frank
McCormick and attended by representatives from seven Illinois colleges and universities
(see list below)--the decision to form the IPA was formalized and the following
arrangements were agreed to:
1) that the Association's goals would include the promotion
of fellowship and exchange of ideas among members of Illinois college and university
departments of English and foreign languages;
2) that annual dues of $10 would be assessed;
3) that the Association would sponsor an annual spring
4) that a selection of papers from the annual conference
would be published electronically, perhaps supplemented by a limited print edition;
5) that a Publications Committee would be formed consisting
of Seth Katz, chair (Bradley University), Randy Beebe (EIU), and Ron Walker (WIU);
6) that the following delegates would serve as pro tem
officers and at-large members of the Association's executive committee:
PRESIDENT: Curtis Blaylock (UIUC)
VICE-PRESIDENT: Norman Spencer (EIU)
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY: Bonnie Irwin (EIU)
TREASURER: Karen Moranski (UIS)
AT-LARGE REPRESENTATIVE: Ron Walker (WIU)
AT-LARGE REPRESENTATIVE: Craig Sirles (DePaul)
7) that Eastern Illinois University would host the first IPA
conference on April 3-5, 1997.
The inaugural conference was by every measure a success.
Conference organizers were pleased with the quality and spiritedness of the presentations
in both the faculty and the student sessions (many thanks to all who participated), and
Joseph Williams--in his April 4 keynote address--spoke so dazzlingly on "Politics and
the English Language" that his Roberson Auditorium audience engaged him in a lively
informal discussion for a full hour after the conclusion of his formal remarks. A grant
from the Illinois Humanities Council will permit the Association to broadcast Dr.
Williams' keynote address on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, at 2:00 p.m. on Eastern's PBS-affiliated
television station WEIU-TV (channel 51).
How are we doing financially? Seventy-four registrants at the
April '97 conference paid a total of $2,050 in registration fees. After all bills were
paid, the Association retains $649.86 in its bank account for use by the institution which
hosts the next IPA conference--about which our Executive Secretary Bonnie Irwin will have
something to say elsewhere on this website.
In short, we are a viable and solvent new state philological
association with a very promising future. Please help us spread the word.
*The following delegates attended
the 4/17/96 meeting of the IPA Planning Committee: Randy Beebe (English/EIU);
Curtis Blaylock (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese/UIUC); Herb Breidenbach (Foreign
Languages, EIU); Kathryn Bulver (Foreign Languages/EIU); Ruth Hoberman (English/EIU);
Susan Holm (Modern Foreign Languages/Monmouth College); Bonnie Irwin (English/EIU); Jim
Johnson (Dean, College of Arts and Humanities/EIU); Seth Katz (English/Bradley
University); Frank McCormick (English/EIU); Karen Moranski (English/UIS); Jim Quivey
(English/EIU); Craig Sirles (English/DePaul University); Norman Spencer (Foreign
Languages/EIU); Richard Sylvia (English/EIU); Richard Thomas (Foreign Languages and
Literatures/WIU); Ron Walker (English and Journalism/WIU).