Charles Shields, a renowned biographer has been selected to become the new associate director of the Great Lives lecture series, according to Professor Emeritus William Crawley, a founder of the program.
Crawley said UMW is “extremely fortunate” to have Shields as a part of the staff, and is confident that he “will play an important role in increasing both the quality and visibility of the program.”
Crawley believes Shields will most effectively serve the program “by providing a connection to the leading contemporary biographers” and helping to “publicize the program more broadly through the media resources of [Biographers International Organization].”
According to Shields, some of the associate director’s responsibilities include working “with Professor Crawley on choosing and inviting speakers” and “brainstorming how to grow the program.”
Shields has a few goals in mind for bolstering the program, including making “Great Lives a greater part of the educational experience for UMW students” and bringing the program to national prominence.
Students appear optimistic about what Shields can do for the Great Lives program.
David Justis, a sophomore, after being informed of Shield’s prestige in the literary world, said that Shields could help Great Lives “to grow and expand”.
Similarly, senior David Gayek said that “[Shields] sounds like a reliable source for information for the Great Lives” program.
Shields himself shows optimism towards his newly appointed position.
“It was an ideal opportunity for me because I like books, students and ideas,” Shields said.
Shields has completed biographies on a number of historical figures, most notably Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Currently, he is writing a biography of the late Kurt Vonnegut, a famed author who had never allowed anyone to write about him before he approved Shields for the project.
A full-length interview with Shields can be found in last week’s edition of the Bullet.