Ivy Leaf - Fall 2007
The 2007-2008 Kjell Meling Award
Two humanists, a musicologist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a literary scholar from Penn State Altoona, have accepted invitations to receive the Kjell Meling Award for Distinction in the Arts and Humanities. The awards will be presented in separate ceremonies in October 2007 and April 2008.
On October 4, 2007, the award was presented to Walter Everett, professor of music theory at the University of Michigan. Everett is a leading scholar in the fields of musicology and music theory, particularly in their application to popular music. His two-volume study of The Beatles as Musicians has been called, in the words of one reviewer, "the most important work to appear on the Beatles thus far." Professor Everett is currently at work on a book supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant. He is a dynamic and engaging speaker who employs piano, electric guitar, and multi-track recordings in his presentations to explore the connections between music theory and performance.
On April 10, 2008, the award will be presented to Sandra Harbert Petrulionis, associate professor of English and American studies at Penn State Altoona. Petrulionis has made a number of recent significant contributions to literary scholarship, including a well-received book on the anti-slavery movement in Concord during the time of Henry David Thoreau and a collection of essays on Thoreau's Walden, co-edited with Laura Dassow Walls. She has received both an NEH fellowship and stipend and is a recipient of the Grace D. Long Faculty Excellence Award.
Petrulionis's latest book, To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau's Concord, has enjoyed considerable acclaim. As one scholar writes, "Petrulionis's mastery of the letters, journals, newspapers, and other archival documents that record Concord's antislavery past is impressive, and she finds in these materials an engaging—and inspiring—narrative of progressive political commitment and achievement."
Penn State Altoona initiated the Meling Award in 2006 to honor the memory of its long-time associate dean for Academic Affairs, who passed away in 2005. The award is intended to memorialize Kjell Meling's love of literature and language and his unwavering support as an administrator for the development of Penn State Altoona's faculty as scholars and artists. Each year, a faculty committee considers nominations for external and internal awardees, who are then invited to receive a sculpture designed by Penn State Altoona artist Rebecca Strzelec and present their work at Penn State Altoona.
The inaugural recipient of the Kjell Meling Award for Distinction in the Arts and Humanities was the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Russo, who served on the faculty of Penn State Altoona during Meling's tenure and whose novel Straight Man is set in a thinly disguised Altoona.