By Jessica Dillon
News Assignment Editor
An award-winning biographer, journalist, essayist, fiction writer and “sometimes poet” will arrive Saturday to begin his term as the spring 2017 Lenna Endowed Visiting Professor.
Michael N. McGregor, professor of English and creative writing at Portland State University, will spend his 16-day visit at St. Bonaventure lecturing, meeting with student writers and conversing with faculty and staff.
After spending the fall 2011 semester with him in an ecumenical scholars’ program, professor of English Lauren Matz, Ph.D., nominated McGregor for the professorship.
“We were impressed with his scholarship, sincerity and personal warmth,” Matz said. “I know that St. Bonaventure students will enjoy listening to Professor McGregor and learning from him, and he will be delighted to listen and learn with them.”
Between March 18 and April 3, McGregor will spend time mentoring students in Dr. Donika Kelly and Dr. Matt King’s undergraduate courses in creative narrative writing and writing in digital environments.
On March 27, he is scheduled to discuss Robert Lax’s life and poetry at a Souper Monday Luncheon.
He also plans to give the introductory remarks about Lax’s poetry at “Never Abolish Chance,” a two-day conference on concrete and visual poetry to be held March 31 and April 1 in honor of Lax and his contributions to modern poetry.
McGregor’s public lecture about the life and work of Lax and the writing of “Pure Act” is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 21 in Walsh Auditorium. His lecture, “The Island of Uncommon Life: Robert Lax and the Joy of Uncertainty,” is listed as a plenary session for Clare 401.
McGregor befriended Lax, an Olean native, an intimate friend of Thomas Merton and a benefactor of St. Bonaventure University, while in Greece. His biography, “Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax,” has been shortlisted for various awards and is now being called the definitive Lax biography.
“I’m especially honored to receive the Lenna Professorship because the first recipient of it, when it was established in 1990, was Robert Lax,” McGregor said on in a statement on his website.
Matz said she believes McGregor’s time at the university will have a lasting impact.
“St. Bonaventure’s legacy from Professor McGregor’s presence as Lenna Endowed Visiting Professor for Spring 2017 will be both immediate and enduring,” Matz said.
The Lenna Endowed Visiting Professorship is funded through gifts from the late Betty S. Lenna Fairbank and Reginald A. Lenna of Jamestown. The professorship is meant to bring scholars of stature in their field to St. Bonaventure University and Jamestown Community College for public lectures.