May 20-21, 1999
ITEM 103-1013-R0599 Resolution Concerning the Retirement of William W. Bevis, Professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences; The University of Montana-Missoula
THAT: William W. Bevis, Professor of English, in his 25 years of meritorious service to The University of Montana, has earned the appreciation and commendation of the Board of Regents of the Montana University System and the title of Professor of English Emeritus.
EXPLANATION: Bill Bevis received his B. A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963. In 1969 he received his Ph.D. in English from the University of California at Berkeley. After four years teaching at Williams College, he came to the University of Montana in 1974. During his 25 years of service, Professor Bevis has indefatigably taught, researched and written in a variety of literary areas. He has published one book about poetry (Mind of Winter: Wallace Stevens, Meditation and Literature; 1988) , a second about Western Literature and Montana writers (Ten Tough Trips: Montana Writers and the West; 1990), and a third about ecology (Borneo Log; 1995).This spring the University of Oklahoma has just published his first novel, Shorty Harris or, the Price of Gold. In addition, Professor Bevis has published a dozen papers in academic journals or books, given another dozen presentations at professional conferences, published ten reviews and even written a play produced at the University in 1977.
Professor Bevis has been the mainstay of the English Department’s American Literature section, developing new courses on a regular basis, teaching very popular courses (his Montana Writers course normally enrolls twice the number of students in other literature courses,) and sharing his expertise across the campus and the West. His intelligence and intellectual energy have inspired hundreds of students and kept departmental spirits buoyant during hard times. His Modernism seminar has become increasingly international in scope and interest. Professor Bevis became more involved with the University’s Mansfield Center and its various programs after his first stint as an exchange professor at Toyo University in 1989-90. While in Japan, he lectured to numerous groups on literary and more general subjects. His great generosity with the University’s foreign students is demonstrated both on and off campus.
Montana has benefited in many ways from Professor Bevis’ broad-ranging interests. In 1986-88 he served on the editorial board of the giant (1,100 page) LAST BEST PLACE anthology of Montana Writing. In 1980, he received a $10,000 Federal Title I grant (with his dance professor wife, Juliette Crump) which took them across Montana with the first travelling Chatauqua in decades. He has served on the Montana Committee for the Humanities since 1993, and has just agreed to serve another term, despite his retirement. It would take two pages just to list the number of talks he has given around the State and across the West. His strong voice has enhanced our cultural and scholarly life.
From his exciting classroom performances to his sound reputation throughout the State and nation, Professor Bevis has earned the respect, admiration, and gratitude of colleagues and students alike. We are honored to recommend Professor William W. Bevis for Emeritus status.