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Release: Oct. 27, 2000

Frank Conroy, director of University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, is named to Miller Chair

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Frank Conroy, director of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has been appointed an F. Wendell Miller Professor.

Miller professorships have been designated in several UI departments. In the Writers’ Workshop, they provide opportunities to honor faculty members who have helped maintain the status of the workshop as the world’s pre-eminent creative writing program. Previous appointees to Miller professorships in the Writers’ Workshop were Pulitzer Prize winners Jorie Graham and James Alan McPherson.

Linda Maxson, dean of the UI College of Liberal Arts, comments, "For more than a decade Professor Conroy has provided excellent leadership to our flagship Creative Writing program -- including leading by example, with his publication of the landmark novel ‘Body and Soul’ in 1993. His appointment to an F. Wendell Miller Professorship brings further distinction to an already distinguished career in the arts and arts administration."

Conroy joined the UI faculty in 1987, becoming the fifth director of the UI Writers’ Workshop. Before his UI appointment, Conroy was director of the literature program at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C.

In 1977-78, he served as visiting faculty member in the Writers’ Workshop. He has also taught writing at a number of other universities, including M.I.T., American University, Brandeis University and George Mason University.

The Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and the National Council for the Arts have awarded Conroy fellowships. In 1967, his autobiography, "Stop-Time," was nominated for a National Book Award.

Conroy is also the author of the short-story collection "Midair" and the novel "Body and Soul," and the editor of "The Eleventh Draft," a book about the workshop process, and "The Iowa Award: The Best Stories from Twenty Years." His essays and short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, the Partisan Review, Harpers, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times Magazine. Numerous anthologies include his short fiction.

The Miller professorships are named for F. Wendell Miller, an attorney and farm manager from Rockwell City, Iowa, who died in 1995. Miller’s will left the bulk of his estate to the UI and Iowa State University to encourage the advancement of academic endeavors. The Miller Endowment Trust was established from the Miller estate, with interest and income from the trust divided equally between ISU and the UI.