Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
The Mirror 5
Library namesake was modern Renaissance man CARRISSA OLSZEWSKI firstname.lastname@example.org
To many UNC students, Michener is just a name for the library on west campus. But the name the library represents is much more than a building. James A. Michener attended the University of Northern Colorado when it was still named Colorado State Teacher’s College. Later in his life, he taught at the institution for several years. Michener did not have an easy childhood. He was an orphan and was documented
saying he did not know who his parents were. He was taken in by Mabel Michener, a woman who housed orphans in Pennsylvania. In his writing, Michener said he often hitchhiked in his youth and was able to visit several states. Through it all, Michener became known as a hard-working and intelligent individual. He received a scholarship and attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He attended nine other universities after that. Later, he taught at Harvard for one year. Michener was primarily a
writer. He wrote about 50 books, most of which contain detailed descriptions of locales and included facts he researched. One of his books, “Tales of the South Pacific,” won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948. “He is a really important, popular writer,” said Jay Trask, the head of UNC Archival Services, located in the library’s basement, and assistant professor of the University Libraries. “He spoke to a lot of people with his writings and opened up the world to those that didn’t have the opportunity to travel,” Trask said Michener’s novel “Centennial” is based on Colorado, which is one of the reasons Michener donated
note taker, a skill that he utilized to earn him f a m e . Michener died at 90 years old in T e x a s . James Michener There are was a former buildings in UNC professor s e v e r a l and Pulitzer Prizes t a t e s winning author. named after him to commemorate his life and works. To read more about Michener, visit the UNC Archival Services located in the basement of the library. On the first landing in the building, there is a museum dedicated to his work.
most of his artifacts researched for that book to the library. Yet Michener did more than write. “Michener was an extraordinary man because he accomplished so much in his life,” said Shirley Soenksen, a library technician. Michener was also involved in politics. He ran for United States Congress in 1962. He also held a position on a NASA advisory council. In his early years, Michener was a lieutenant in the Navy and worked on missions in the South Pacific. “Michener was an amazing author and a stickler for detail,” said Jeff Miller, a library technician. Michener traveled the world and wrote detailed descriptions of what he saw. He was an avid
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EXPERIENCE! COURTESY OF THE MICHENER LIBRARY | THE MIRROR
The James A. Michener library on the corner of west campus was named after the famous author, who also dabbled in politics and was in the Navy. His book “Centennial” is based on Colorado.
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Published on Jan 21, 2011