Montana State University

Wallace Stegner symposium and lecture features noted preservationists

February 6, 2002 -- Brenda McDonald

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Bozeman -- Five noted preservationists from throughout the United States will be the featured speakers Feb. 23 at the first symposium hosted by The Wallace Stegner Chair in Western American Studies at Montana State University.

The symposium is titled "The World We'd Like to See," in honor of the late Tom Watkins, a dedicated preservationist and the first Stegner Professor of Western American Studies at MSU.

Symposium speakers will include: John Mitchell, senior editor of National Geographic and former editor of Sierra Club Books; Ruth Rudner, author of "A Chorus of Buffalo," and many other works; Alexander Saxton, current Stegner Professor of Western American Studies at MSU; Paul Schullery, author and noted authority on Yellowstone Park and Ann Zwinger, artist, naturalist, author, and former Stegner lecturer.

The symposium runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the MSU Foundation Great Room at 1501 11th Avenue. The event is free and open to the public. For those attending lunch, there will be an $8 charge. To register call 994-7805.

That evening at the Museum of the Rockies in the Hager Auditorium, Saxton will give the annual Stegner Lecture. Saxton, a cultural historian, will lecture on, "Two Western Writers on Nature and Us." The 7:30 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public.

Saxton is a professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Los Angeles and is the author of many books including, "The Rise and Fall of the White Republic." He spent nearly 20 years as a merchant seaman and carpenter before launching a distinguished academic career.

A reception for the symposium speakers and Saxton will precede the lecture at 6 p.m. at the Museum of the Rockies. The cost for the reception is $50 per person and will go toward funding of the Wallace Stegner chair. Those attending the reception will receive priority seating for the lecture.

The Stegner chair uses teaching and research of history, literature and philosophy to focus on important Western issues including conservation, growth and the economy.

Stegner was a nationally important figure of American letters and winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He is often called "the dean of Western writers."

"There's an awakening in the rest of the country to the West and what it's about," he wrote shortly before his death in 1993. "And the West is waking up to itself. A chair in Western American Studies at MSU is a splendid way to inform the West about itself."

For more information contact Betsy Gaines (406) 994-7805