Albert A. Dunn Day of Poetry and Prose set for April 3

Though he passed away nearly 10 years ago, the legacy of former Department of English faculty member Dr. Albert A. Dunn and his passion for literature and teaching remain a part of the campus through the Albert A. Dunn Day of Poetry and Prose

This ritual of spring serves both as a forum for readings of great literature and a unique opportunity to raise money to benefit students at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

The inaugural Albert A. Dunn Day of Poetry and Prose — organized by Linda Dunn, his widow, as well as the English department, former students and alumni, with assistance from the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Fredonia College Foundation — proved to be so successful that it’s become an annual event held during April, which is also National Poetry Month.

Where else can students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees and community members gather to read aloud favorite passages in literature or recite their favorite poems? The format is casual, so readers can come and go as they wish during the program’s four hours.

The ninth edition of the Albert A. Dunn Day of Poetry and Prose, on Monday, April 3, will be held in a new venue, the Costello Community Room, in the Rockefeller Arts Center’s new Studio Complex. Applications are available in the Department of English office at Fredonia or online at https://give-to-fredonia.formstack.com/forms/poetryandprose, and are due by Friday.

The nominal reader’s fee raises money to support the Albert A. Dunn Endowment of the Fredonia College Foundation, which awards an annual scholarship to an English major or dual English major. Last year’s recipient was a dual English and Theatre major. Proceeds are also allocated to a book grant program that helps students build their own book collections.

The scholarship’s value has grown and will reach $1,500 in 2017-2018. Two book grants, at $250 each, are also awarded each year.

“He loved literature and poetry, so it’s keeping the flame for things that he loved alive, as well as providing scholarship assistance to students, which was important to him,” Mrs. Dunn said.

Envisioned as a one-time event, it has evolved to include community members as well. Though they may not be able to attend, alumni still participate by sponsoring a reader or making an individual donation to the endowment.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Dunn was a beloved faculty member in the English department. Support for this special day runs deep among faculty, even among those in other disciplines. Theatre Professor Thomas Loughlin and Dr. Jack Croxton of the Department of Psychology are venerable readers. Last year, both were suitably attired — Mr. Loughlin wearing a Yankees ball cap, Dr. Croxton with a Pirates cap — for a tag-team performance of Abbott and Costello’s classic “Who’s On First” routine. They’ve also read, individually and in different years, “Casey at the Bat.”

Each year, as many as 60 presenters usually participate in the Albert A. Dunn Day of Poetry to continue his legacy and enrich a new generation of students with Dunn’s love of literature. The day also encourages the art of reading aloud.

There is no admission fee and visitors are welcome to drop by and simply listen. Refreshments will be served.

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