Third George T. Hunter Lecture to focus on education and the arts.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Frank McCourt, will be the third speaker in The George T. Hunter Lecture Series at UTC on February 19th, 7 p.m. in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall, UTC Fine Arts Center at Vine and Palmetto Streets. McCourt is the author of several books and plays, including Teacher Man, ‘Tis, and Angela’s Ashes, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 1996. The subject of his lecture will be education and teaching, drawing upon nearly thirty years of experience as a New York City public school teacher as well as the importance of the arts. Admission is free and the lecture is open to the public.
Prior to his lecture, McCourt will meet with local teachers and principals from schools participating in the Benwood Initiative, an elementary school reform effort in sixteen Hamilton County schools. This meeting will provide Benwood teachers and principals the opportunity to have an informal conversation with McCourt about his experiences teaching, writing and working to motivate students from poverty backgrounds. McCourt will also provide a workshop for UTC English Professor Earl Braggs’s creative writing class and other interested creative writing students at the University.
“Benwood’s commitment to excellence in education in Hamilton County is a high priority for the Foundation. As a former teacher and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Frank McCourt is an ideal spokesman for the importance of education in our community today,” said Corinne Allen, Executive Director of the Benwood Foundation.
The George T. Hunter Lecture Series is sponsored by the Benwood Foundation, the Community Research Council, and The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The first speaker in the series was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who addressed more than 900 people in September. Author and environmentalist Bill McKibben was the second speaker in the series.
Frank McCourt was born in New York City and raised in Limerick, Ireland, in the 1930s and 40s. McCourt returned to the United States at the age of nineteen and enrolled in New York University’s School of Education. After graduation he began work as a New York public high school teacher.
After retiring from teaching, McCourt wrote a memoir of his childhood, Angela’s Ashes, which quickly rose to the top of the bestseller lists, remaining on the New York Times list for 117 weeks. It was selected as the number one nonfiction book of the year by Time and Newsweek magazines. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Angela’s Ashes also received the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, The ABBY Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Award and was chosen by many newspapers to be on their lists of Best Books of 1996.
In September 1999, McCourt published the follow-up to Angela’s Ashes, titled ‘Tis: A Memoir, which was also a New York Times Best-Seller and received the New York Society Library Award.
McCourt completed the trilogy of memoirs in 2005 with the publication of Teacher Man, which recounts his humorous and sometimes exasperating experiences as an under-prepared teacher trying to teach writing to New York City high school students.
The final speaker in the George T. Hunter Lecture Series will be Fred Kent, the founder of Project for Public Spaces, on April 8.
More information on the George T. Hunter Lecture Series is available at www.benwood.org.