MAILED: Aug. 22, 2001
EAU CLAIRE — The
third recipient of the Maxwell Schoenfeld Distinguished Professorship at the
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been named.
John Hildebrand, professor of English, received the award
that recognizes a commitment to the university, achievement in scholarship and a
commitment to student learning and life during the opening meeting of the
2001-02 academic year.
Hildebrand, who joined UW-Eau Claire in 1977, is a member
of the English department’s creative writing faculty and will be teaching a
seminar on nonfiction writing and a short story course this semester. He has had
two major books brought out by major publishers — “Reading the River: A
Voyage Down the Yukon” Houghton Mifflin, 1988, and “Mapping the Farm: The
Chronicle of a Family” Knopf, 1995. Both books have been reprinted.
His short stories, articles, travel pieces, book reviews
and first-person essays appear in anthologies and magazines ranging from the
academic to the popular. Most recently he published “Other People’s
Stories” in Fourth Genre, “Winter Wild Land” in Audubon Magazine and
“Coming Home” in Harper’s Magazine and anthologized in Best American
Sports Writing 1999. His article “The Appraisal,” a story about a farmer in
Minnesota, is set to appear in the November 2001 issue of Harper’s Magazine.
Hildebrand, who once sat in on a historiography class
taught by Maxwell Schoenfeld, said the biggest kick for him is that this award
is associated with such an astounding teacher and scholar. “Max was to me the
picture-book professor. He dressed formally, was very learned and enthusiastic,
and he was somebody I would have liked to take a class from,” Hildebrand said.
Hildebrand describes his work as literary journalism —
the fact finding of journalism mixed with the narrative techniques of
literature. “The work I do involves a lot of research, library work and
talking with people,” he said. “I was pleased to see my efforts recognized
as a scholarly achievement.”
The award, in the amount of $5,000, can be used for any
form of professional development. Hildebrand, who considers his writing and
teaching as completely connected, said he will use the monies in a way that will
allow him to write another book or article.
He may return to Alaska to continue work on a project he
began this summer for Harper’s Magazine. The article-in-progress involves two
Alaskan villages, one Gwich’in Indian and the other Inupiat Eskimo, and their
views on oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
was created in honor of Schoenfeld, a UW-Eau Claire history professor and
scholar from 1964 until his death in 1996. Schoenfeld also was the author of
numerous books and articles about Winston Churchill and World War II.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Aug. 22, 2001