Dirksen Named Department Of Language & Literature Honorary Distinguished Alumnus

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - by Charity Parris, Lee University
Dr. Carolyn Dirksen, left, with Dr. Jean Eledge, after receiving the 2017 Language & Literature Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award at a department breakfast during Homecoming
Dr. Carolyn Dirksen, left, with Dr. Jean Eledge, after receiving the 2017 Language & Literature Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award at a department breakfast during Homecoming

Dr. Carolyn Dirksen was awarded the 2017 Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award for Lee University’s Department of Language & Literature at a breakfast during Homecoming.

“If we drew up a description of what we would hope and dream for a graduate of the Department of Language & Literature, that description would look like Dr. Carolyn Dirksen’s life,” said Dr. Jean Eledge, chairperson of the department. 

Dr. Dirksen came to Lee in 1968 as an instructor in English after completing a Master of Arts in English at Northern Arizona University. Her teaching skills were recognized quickly, and in 1972, she received the first Excellence in Teaching Award ever given at Lee. In 1974, Dr. Dirksen became the first female faculty member to be granted a sabbatical to begin a Doctor of Philosophy program in linguistics at the University of Arizona, which she completed in 1977. 

According to Dr. Eledge, Dr. Dirksen has played a major role in Lee’s evolution from small private college to comprehensive liberal arts university. She served as co-chair of the Core Revision Task Force in 1995, leading the way for a dramatically revised general education requirement that included an extensive cross-cultural experience for every student. 

While at Lee, Dr. Dirksen has also served in various roles, such as the chair of the Department of Language & Literature, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and the vice president for academic affairs. Currently, she is the director of faculty development. 

Dr. Dirksen and her husband, Dr. Murl Dirksen, opened a ministry in East Cleveland called Agape House and, with the aid of Lee student volunteers, reached out to more than 100 children. For the last two years while she has been serving as director of faculty development, she has also been mobilizing Lee faculty, staff, and students to “adopt,” support, and transform a small Christian school-orphanage in Liberia. Under her direction, individuals, groups, and departments have come together to provide the school with resources. 

“Carolyn Dirksen’s impact has been transformational at every level of work and service from individual to institutional,” said Dr. Eledge. “She has brought honor to our department and to Lee as she has humbly served Christ through serving others. The department is pleased to officially, appropriately, and with thanksgiving, celebrate her 50 years of lasting impact.” 

Lindvall Opens Centennial Lecture Series At Lee

Lee University Department of Communication Arts hosted film scholar Dr. Terry Lindvall, who presented on his knowledge of the parallels between film and society’s view of prayer.  Dr. Lindvall, The C. S. Lewis chair of communication and Christian thought at Virginia Wesleyan College, presented “Hollywood Teaches Us to Pray: A Century of Exemplary and Revelatory Prayers in ... (click for more)

Jethani To Speak At Lee Chapel Service

Lee University will welcome Skye Jethani to speak in a chapel service on Thursday at 10:40 a.m. in the Conn Center.  Mr. Jethani speaks frequently at various churches, retreats, colleges, and conferences including the Q Conferences, Catalyst Conferences, and the U.S. Naval Academy. He has written nine books and has been published in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, ... (click for more)

Volkswagen To Build New 5-Passenger SUV In Chattanooga

Volkswagen officials announced Monday that they will build a new five-passenger SUV at the Chattanooga plant at the Enterprise South Industrial Park. Governor Bill Haslam was among those on hand for the announcement. It will be a variant of the seven-passenger Atlas that is already under production here. Like the Atlas, the new model will be designed and engineered for ... (click for more)

Weather Channel Correspondent Hunkered Down In Chattanooga, But Storm Stayed Mainly To The Southwest

A Weather Channel correspondent hunkered down in Chattanooga on Monday night as a fierce storm approached. A Weather Channel anchor termed it "a rough night in the Scenic City," but the main area of damage kept to the southwest.. Reynolds Wolf said he, along with his cameraman and producer, were ready to take shelter in their nearby hotel should the storm become dangerous. ... (click for more)

Remember The Full Story Of Toys-R-Us - And Response

It is always disappointing when any business is forced to close because of competition. Big box stores do this to smaller retailers every day. And while Toys-R-Us seemed to be an unstoppable force, they have finally succumbed to online ordering and simplicity.  But if you think about it, when Toys-R-Us came into existence, imagine the number of “mom ‘n pop” toy stores that ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Meme From The Meanies

Hardly a day goes past that I don’t receive several strings of memes in my incoming emails and yesterday there was one particular collection that gave me pause for thought. First, here’s the definition of a meme: “An Internet meme (/mi?m/ MEEM) is an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry or for humorous purposes, from person to person via ... (click for more)