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DATE: Dec. 9, 2002

Lecture, ceremony to honor Jackie Lawson

DEARBORN---Jacqueline Lawson, who was associate professor of English and communications from 1985 to 2000, will be remembered with a lecture and ceremony marking the dedication of a classroom named in her honor at 4 p.m. on Jan. 9. The classroom is in the CASL Building, which was completed in 2001.

Lawson, who became a member of the UM-Dearborn faculty in 1985, died in January 2001, following a brief illness. The ceremony will coincide with the second anniversary of her burial.

Philip Jason, who recently retired after teaching literature and creative writing at the U.S. Naval Academy for 20 years, will deliver the memorial lecture, on "Teaching Literature in a Time of War." Lawson knew Jason from their similar interests in popular culture and Vietnam War literature, and she published an essay in a collection he edited called Fourteen Landing Zones: Approaches to Vietnam War Literature. Jason has written or edited 19 books, five of which concern the literature of war, including Acts and Shadows: The Vietnam War in American Literary Culture and The Encyclopedia of American War Literature.

"This event is honoring Jackie's identity as a teacher more than anything," according to Jonathan Smith, Lawson's husband and associate professor of English.
A gifted and dedicated teacher, Lawson received numerous honors on campus including the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1986 and the Faculty Appreciation Award from student-athletes for her support for their academic achievement. "I am very keen on letting her former students know about this event and hope that some of them will be able to attend," Smith said.

Lawson taught classes in 18th-century British and 20th-century American literature, history of journalism, press ethics and press law, but she had a special interest in the literature of the Vietnam War. "She had many intellectual interests but this is the one that I associate most with her," Smith said. "She was very interested in the constructions of masculinity, especially in wartime: the structures in our society that shape young men and convert them into soldiers capable of killing."

"Jackie Lawson made a powerful mark on this institution during her years at UM-Dearborn and profoundly affected all with whom she interacted, including students, faculty and staff," Chancellor Daniel Little said on her death. "We remember her for her intellectual vitality, her concern for the university and her unflagging willingness to speak her mind about the issues that were important to her."

Lawson served on numerous campus committees and was chair of the Faculty Senate in 1995-1996. She also served as the campus's representative to the U-M Senate Assembly and was the chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs for 2000-2001, the first faculty member from a regional campus elected to that position. After her death, she was honored with the university's Distinguished Faculty Governance Award.

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