Issuu on Google+

In This Issue: Pg. 2 Creative Writing Pg. 4 Memphis’ Move to the Big East Pg. 5 Director’s Letter Pg. 6 Spring Festivals On March 1, 2013 the University of Memphis honored Dr. Janann Sherman, chair of the history department, for her contributions in her field and being an inspiration to fellow female scholars. Dr. Sherman will be retiring from her position after this semester. “Her positive, upbeat mentality and proclivity are valued by everyone in the department,” Dr. Linda Bennett, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. At the ceremony, Dr. Sherman shared in her speech her story on how she arrived at the University of Memphis and why her journey of humble beginnings was paved with hardships, ambitions and faith. Poster design by U of M students Brooke Smith, Corie Walker, Zi Felton, Terrance Mason, Terrell Harmon and Zachary Morgan All she wanted was to get a job at the electronics factory up the road so that she wouldn’t have to clean men’s shirts anymore. It was a good dream. It was a realistic dream for someone from her small town. She was grateful to her father for her job at the cleaners because she knew that there was a danger of failure if she aspired to be anything more. And then she met Charlie. This was the first time Janann Sherman fell in love. She was a 17 and he was 29. They waited until she turned 18 to get married so they wouldn’t need her parent’s permission. He wanted her to pursue dreams outside of steaming shirts and factory work. But at the time, they would have to work their blue collar jobs to support themselves and her new pursuit of a college education. Charlie helped her fall in love for the second time in her life. She discovered that she loved learning. He helped send her to a community college with his G.I. Bill while he would work shifts in the factory. Almost every night, she would read her homework out loud to Charlie, who started to lose his eyesight before she completed her first degree. By the time she turned 42, Sherman had earned three degrees, including her Master of Arts in History from Rutgers University. Charlie had been fired from the factory when his employers found out about his blindness, but he remained an ever-steady source of love and support for Janann. When she turned 49, Dr. Sherman had earned her PhD in History from Rutgers and moved to Memphis to accept a job as an assistant professor. Since then she has written and co-authored five books focusing on influential women in history and the suffrage movement. She also became the first female chair of the history department. Now, Dr. Sherman attributes her successes to her first love. When she speaks of Charlie, there is an obvious adoration in her voice. “ It was with perseverance and a refusal to be discouraged that I got to where I am today,” Dr. Sherman said. Women’s History continued page 3

The Connection- March 2013

Related publications