Friday, April 25, 2008

SMU history book to be released

By Amira Sadek
Guest Writer

The history of Saint Mary’s University will be published in time for SMU’s centennial celebration in 2012.

Dr. William Crozier, a retired SMU history professor, and Dr. Michael Flanagan, a retired SMU theater professor, are teaming up to write a book that Crozier says will be “creative nonfiction,” unlike any history book the two have come across. “It will be interesting . . . with lots of pictures,” said Crozier.

Though both are experienced writers, neither has written anything this large-scale before. Crozier has written many documents, including papers on historical topics, and Flanagan has written plays and other pieces. Crozier and Flanagan agreed that they work well together.

The projected audience will be mostly alumni, who will enjoy reading about events and places they remember from the college.

“Saint Mary’s seems like a place to me that hasn’t changed much,” said Dr. David Sokolowski, an alumnus and SMU English professor, “so it would be interesting to see how much it has changed.”

Although the book is geared for an alumni audience, sophomore Emily Dee said, “It sounds interesting; I would want to read it.”

The book is still in its early stages, and only four different detailed outlines have been made. The actual writing should begin this summer; right now, they are working hard to collect and manage information. They have collected information from surveys, pictures on slides, and online sources like the local newspaper. Crozier and Flanagan have also interviewed many people, including an alumnus from the class of 1941, a 91-year-old former Saint Mary’s president, former Board of Trustee members, and older faculty. Other sources include pieces from former students, such as a scrapbook and letters written home.

It is not clear who the publisher will be and how the book will be formatted. When the book is published, it will be made available for students to purchase. Flanagan, with a smile, said, “Maybe they’ll make a movie of it someday.”

Because SMU is “relatively young,” the book should be only about 150 to 200 pages. “It’ll be honest with all [the] main ingredients, but we want to get across all the interesting stories of the people who went here and the faculty, presidents,” said Crozier. “I’m sure a lot of our stuff will be frivolous, but at least it will be human.”

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