UT Libraries Writer in Residence Renamed for Late Chancellor Jack Reese

Libraries honored to remember Reese as artist, teacher and library supporter

When UT Libraries Writer in Residence RB Morris introduces the first reading of Writers in the Library this year, he’ll have a new title: the Jack E. Reese Writer in Residence.

Former UT Chancellor Jack E. Reese was an active supporter of the UT Libraries, and his students initiated the Jack E. Reese Library Endowment after his retirement in 1989. Now monies from the endowment will be used to underwrite a cause near and dear to Dr. Reese: supporting writers and writing.

Reese, who passed away in May, was a member of the UT community for more than 38 years. He came to UT in 1961 as an English instructor, and retired in 1989 after serving as chancellor for sixteen years. Reese continued to teach in the College Scholars program for ten years, reaching professor emeritus status in 1999.

At his retirement in 1989, the first floor galleria of Hodges Library was named in his honor. In addition to being a beloved teacher and administrator, Reese was active in the community, serving as chair of the Tennessee Arts Commission and the first president of the Knoxville Writers Guild.

“Jack Reese’s dedication to the libraries is sorely missed,” Barbara Dewey, Dean of Libraries, said. Reese was instrumental in getting the new Hodges Library built in 1986, and was the impetus behind the Tennessee Imperative Campaign, which raised $7 million for library acquisitions.

“It seems only fitting to name the Writer in Residence position in his honor, as he was such a champion of both the UT Libraries and the literary community at UT and in Knoxville,” Dewey said.

“My father was many things, but he was an artist at heart,” Brad Reese, Jack Reese’s son, said. “I can think of no greater way to honor his legacy than to name the Writer in Residence program after him. He would have loved that RB Morris is the first Jack Reese Writer in Residence. Mr. Morris exemplifies many of the characteristics my father so valued in an artist: truthfulness, humor, sense of place, and that peculiar irony that all great Southern writers possess,” Reese said.

The Writer in Residence program was founded at UT Libraries in 1998, in order to support an up-and-coming author interested in making an effort to write full time. UT is one of only a few academic libraries to host such a program.

UT Libraries’ first Writer in Residence was Knoxville author Brian Griffin. Griffin, along with then-English literature librarian Steve Harris began the Writers in the Library reading series in 1999. The tradition of the reading series has been continued by all succeeding Writers in Residence, the goal of the series being to promote the literary arts in the library, at the university and within the community.

For more details about Writers in the Library, visit their Web site.

The Writers in the Library series is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the Creative Writing Program of the UT English Department. For further information, please contact Jo Anne Deeken, Head of Technical Services, UT Libraries, at 974-6905 or deeken@nullaztec.lib.utk.edu, or RB Morris, Writer in Residence, UT Libraries, at 974-3004 or rbmorris@nullutk.edu.

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