A friend of a friend-Shelby Stephenson-Mark Canada-February 3

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for February 3, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

Yesterday I went to Raleigh, NC to see a former UNC Pembroke faculty member get installed as North Carolina Poet Laureate in the State Capital. It was fascinating to be in the house chambers on the second floor of the capital. That room had plenty of history because from 1841 to the mid 1960’s it was the actual chamber that legislation was debated and voted on for our state.

Mark Canada is the current Dean of the UNC Pembroke School of Arts & Sciences and he was there also. His wife Lisa works in the Chancellor’s Office with me and she serves as Assistant to the Chancellor for Research and Communication. Mark and Lisa were there in Raleigh to support a friend and colleague. You will not find a more intelligent, thoughtful, and professional couple than Mark and Lisa Canada.

Mark prior to becoming dean was a member of the UNC Pembroke English Department where he earned the rank of full professor and became the chair of the department. In 2008 Mark received the UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence. In December 2014 Mark announced that he was going to leave the university in March to take over as provost at Indiana University at Kokomo in April. Family and nostalgia were some draws for the job. Both Dr. Canada, and wife Lisa, have families that live within an hour and a half of Kokomo, In., and they both attended IU-Bloomington for their undergraduate degrees.

Mark is going to be missed at UNCP because he got involved. He was a running partner with a number of fellow faculty members including Dr. Alfred Bryant, Mike Severy, Ben Miller and Drew Richards. He was a very loyal supporter of UNC Pembroke Athletics and was a fixture at a number of games.

Mark was also very loyal to his colleagues that taught in English with him. One of those special colleagues was Dr. Shelby Stephenson who on Monday February 2, 2015 was inducted as North Carolina Poet Laureate. Mark and Lisa were both in attendance as Governor Pat McCrory installed Dr. Shelby Stephenson to a two-year appointment as North Carolina’s Poet Laureate.

Great video link on the poet laureate ceremony below with Shelby reading some of his work






The Friend of the Friend-DR. SHELBY STEPHENSON



Bragging on Shelby Stephenson

Shelby Stephenson came to be an English professor at UNC-Pembroke and editor of Pembroke magazine. He arrived in 1978 and stayed until his retirement in 2010. He has received numerous awards including the following 2001 North Carolina Award for Literature, 2004-2005 North Carolina Poetry Society Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet, and 2014 induction into NC Literary Hall of Fame. The 76-year-old Stephenson is a much-respected author. Stephenson has published more than a dozen books, taught writing at universities and won numerous awards and honors.

Dr. Stephenson has also published four books Plankhouse” (1993), “Possum” (2004), “Finch’s Mask” (1990) and “The Persimmon Tree Carol” (2002), as well as four albums of music. He was born on a farm in Benson, NC in 1938 and still lives there today. He graduated from UNC Chapel Hill and has a lovely wife named Linda that he has recorded music with. He has two children a son named Jacob and a daughter Kate.

Learn more about Shelby below









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