CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
UI English department honors emeritus professor John Gerber with
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa English department has created
an endowed professorship in honor of John Gerber, UI professor emeritus
of English who spent more than 30 years in the department, serving as chairman
for many years and overseeing innovative programs including the Writers'
Workshop, the International Writing Program, the Program in Modern Letters,
the Center for Textual Studies, and the spin-off departments of Rhetoric
The announcement was a surprise gift to Gerber at a reception celebrating
his 90th birthday Sunday, Feb. 1.
More than 60 people, including several UI leaders, gathered in the Gerber
Lounge in the English-Philosophy Building to celebrate Gerber's birthday
as well as his academic career. UI President Mary Sue Coleman could not
attend the celebration, but sent a two-page letter that praised Gerber's
accomplishments during his UI tenure and thanked him for his contribution
to the university and its history. "In so many ways, through both
administrative acumen and scholarly example, you have put Iowa on the map
as a national leader in language, literature, and writing, and we are forever
in your debt," Coleman wrote.
In addition to helping transform the UI English department from one
devoted to literary history to one with strong concentrations in criticism
and theory, cultural studies, folklore, and nonfiction writing, Gerber
also has been a champion of interdisciplinary studies. He was instrumental
in launching the UI Women's Studies and African-American World Studies
Among the numerous publications of his scholarly career is the first
comprehensive history of the UI, A Pictorial History of the University
In his career as English professor, Gerber founded three major national
professional associationsAssociation of Departments of English, Midcontinent
American Studies Association, and the Conference on College Composition
and Communication. He has served as president of all three organizations
as well as the National Council of Teachers of English.
Gerber remains an active scholar and has published four books, including
the Pictorial History, since his 80th birthday.
Interviews with Gerber can be arranged by contacting Mary Geraghty,