Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Retiring professor shares love of South during Provost Luncheon

When Margaret Whitt was asked to speak at the Provost’s Lecture and Luncheon, she didn’t hesitate to say yes; not because she feels deserving, but because she never hesitates to share stories of the civil rights movement.

During her lecture April 23, she took the largest DU Provost luncheon audience ever on a picture tour of historical sites of the South.

From the murder site of 14 year-old Emmett Till, who was killed in Mississippi in 1955, to the church where Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott were married, Whitt relayed the events that happened at each location.

“We cannot forget these things,” said Adrienne Clay, office assistant in Facilities Management. “I have seven children and I will talk to them about her and this topic. It’s important we talk about it and bring it to light.”

Jill Hartman, assistant director of external relations at HRTM, said that Whitt’s talk made her want to learn more.

“It was delightful,” Hartman said. “She took a serious matter, and with her great sense of humor, conveyed it a way that made you want to find out more.”

After 27 years, this is Whitt’s last at DU. During her time as an English professor she has won several awards, including the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award (1993–94) and the United Methodist University Teacher/Scholar Award (2006–07).

She’s also written eight books and is working on her ninth, a compilation titled Short Stories about AIDS.

After retiring, she plans to live near Ashville, N.C.

“It speaks to the geography of my heart,” Whitt said when asked how she feels about moving back to the South.

When asked about what she’ll remember most about DU, she said, “the people, the students, the teaching moments and my colleagues who put their egos aside to get something done for the students.”

When Provost Gregg Kvistad introduced Whitt, he mentioned her dedication to the First-Year English Program, the talks to prospective students and the 60 times she’s presented at conferences. But, he summed her up in one sentence: “She is a force of nature,” he said.

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