Ovations

The Chicopee Savings Bank Endowment for Academic Excellence, the Office of Academic Affairs, and the Honors Program at Springfield Technical Community College are pleased to announce the schedule of events for its Fall 2014 Ovations Series. This educational and cultural special event series brings to the College locally and nationally acclaimed writers, artists, political figures, and experts in the fields of science and health. All events are open to the public free of charge. For additional information on this series, please contact Professor Philip O'Donoghue at 413-755-4233.

All Ovations events will be held in Scibelli Theater, Scibelli Hall. All events are free, and open to the general public.

September 25 @ 9:30AM: Shannon Lanier and Jane Feldman, authors, Jefferson's Children, The Story of One American Family. Shannon Lanier is the sixth great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson and African-American slave Sally Hemings. As a 21 year-old student at Kent State University, he traveled to Virginia to attend an unofficial family reunion. There, he met photojournalist Jane Feldman, who was there to photograph the event. Together, they decided to explore the history and controversy surrounding the story of Jefferson and Hemings by traveling across the country, interviewing and photographing family descendants. The result was the book, Jefferson's Children, The Story of One American Family. As a review in the School Library Journal states, "Through this collection of engaging contemporary testimonials and photographs of blacks and whites, young and old, Lanier sheds light not only on his own heritage but also on the understanding and pride that emerges when family history is explored." This multi-media presentation has been presented in schools and universities across the country, and is a fascinating slice of American history. This is a joint presentation by the Ovations Series and STCC Diversity Series.

October 21 @9:30AM: Author Suzanne Stempak Shea, and Mags Riordan, founder, Billy's Malawi Project. In February of 1999, Mags Riordan lost her only son, Billy, age 25, in a drowning accident in the small African country of Malawi. Billy had visited this country several times, in particular the village of Cape Maclear, which he referred to in a letter to his mother as "a paradise." To honor his memory, Mags visited the village and spent months at a time getting to know the people. In 2004 Mags established the Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic, where she now spends most of her time. The clinic operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and serves patients from many miles around. Local award-winning author Suzanne Strempak Shea has told the story of this remarkable woman in her latest book, This is Paradise. The book, according to The Valley Advocate, is "...[a] story of fortitude in the face of tragedy...[that] also takes on some controversial material, most notably the uncomfortable history of Western aid efforts in Africa." Both women will be sharing the story of The Billy Riordan Clinic.

November 5 at 10:10 and 11:15AM: Cammie McGovern, author. Cammie McGovern is a successful author, with several widely praised novels under her belt. The Chicago Tribune called her debut novel, The Art of Seeing, "Beautifully written." Entertainment Weekly called her mystery thriller, Eye Contact, "An enticing drama," and actress Julia Roberts has optioned the film rights to it. McGovern's latest novel, Say What You Will, represents her first foray into Young Adult fiction. Say What You Will is about an unlikely friendship between two high school students, one with cerebral palsy, the other with an obsessive compulsive disorder. Only recently released, Say What You Will is a bona fide hit. People Magazine made it "#7 for Summer's Best." Barnes and Noble included it in "Five Reasons June is an amazing month for YA." Goodreads called it a "Mover and Shaker" in its June YA Newsletter. Drawing from her own experiences from raising a son with autism, McGovern will be reading from this wonderful novel, and sharing her thoughts on the writing process.