About: Shirley Hershey Showalter

Farmer’s daughter turned college professor, then college president, later foundation executive.   She has published articles in USA Today, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of  Higher Education, Christian Century and many others.  Writing a memoir about growing up Mennonite in  America, 1948-1966.  Seeking others who read, write, and teach nonfiction/memoir.  Goal:  read and review 100 memoirs!

Professional Short Bio:

Shirley H. Showalter is spending the 2011-12 academic year in Brooklyn, NY. She’s devoting herself to helping to care for her grandson, writing the first draft of her memoir, and enjoying the amazing vitality of New York City. She blogs about caring for her grandson at http://www.grannynanny.posterous.com, charts her memoir progress and interests here at 100memoirs.com, and describes her adventures in New York on both blogs. She also coaches women in transition. Possible clients can reach her at shirley.showalter (at) gmail.com.

In her previous life . . .

From 2004-2010 Shirley was Vice President—Programs at the Fetzer Institute.  From 1997-2004, she was president of Goshen College, after 21 years as a professor there.

Returning to Harrisonburg, VA, in December, 2010, was a kind of homecoming, one that she described in this post. Shirley graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in 1970 and taught English at Harrisonburg High School.

In 1972 she entered graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, from which she received the Ph.D. in American Civilization in 1980. She joined the Goshen College faculty in 1976, becoming professor of English in 1989. She published numerous articles and personal essays, not only in her field of early twentieth century American literature but also in spirituality, higher education, and leadership. She also won the Sears Roebuck Teaching Excellence and Community Leadership Award.

In April of 1996 Showalter was named the 14th president of Goshen College and served there until 2004. During those years she was awarded the John S. and James L. Knight Presidential Leadership Award and other honors. The school’s endowment grew from $46 million to $90 million, several new buildings were erected, including a $24 million music center, now one of the finest of its size in the Midwest, and the college established core values and a strategic plan for the next decade.

On November 1, 2004, Showalter joined the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, as Vice President-Programs. She helped the Institute organize its staff and program around three areas: individual and community transformation, science and spirituality, and communication and outreach.

Her interest in memoir writing was stimulated in part by the mission of the Fetzer Institute: “To foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in the emerging global community.”  Turning 60 during the summer of 2008 helped, too!  This blog was set up in WordPress by her son Anthony, who can be found online at http://www.ashowalter.com

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16 Responses to About: Shirley Hershey Showalter

  1. DeWitt says:

    I think you would enjoy my memoir, SAFE SUICIDE. I would love to be counted in your one hundred! See http://www.amazon.com/SAFE-SUICIDE-DeWitt-Henry…You might also be interested in http://www.pshares.org , where James Alan McPherson, guest editor of the fall issue writes about Obama as the Omni-American.

  2. shirleyhs says:

    I have checked out both of your suggestions. I even bought your book on Amazon! Congrats on getting such great blurbs and reader reviews. I am thrilled to have the chance to correspond with a memoir author–you are my first. I am quite new to blogging.Keep checking back in. You just might see a review here in a few weeks.

  3. DeWitt says:

    Dear Shirley: Thank you for ordering Safe Suicide, which I hope you enjoy. I am astonished that you aren't in correspondence with more writers. I've found two recent books helpful in teaching memoir to graduate students at Emerson: THE MEMOIR AND THE MEMOIRIST by Thomas Larson; and TIME AND THE MEMOIR: THEN, AGAIN by Sven Birkerts. Despite classic examples from St. Augustine to Gorki, memoir and autobiography constitute a new and urgent field in my view, and your blog helps to define and celebrate it. By the way, PLOUGHSHARES is about to start screening submissions for memoir and fiction issue to be guest edited by Kathryn Harrison, and the new permanent editor-in-chief is Ladette Randolph, who started the American Lives series at the University of Nebraska Press. Best, DeWitt**************New MapQuest Local shows what's happening at your destination. Dining, Movies, Events, News & more. Try it out (http://local.mapquest.com/?ncid=emlcntnew00000002)

  4. Greetings! Glad you found my blog! I am happy to find yours and will be perusing it over the next few days. The landuvmilknhoney blog was started as a writing discipline for me, a source of therapy, but mostly a memoir for my family! You will probably chuckle over some of the universal farm stories. I loved your blog on the formula of writing the hero's story. I think I should try it out myself and ask the older children to try it as a school exercise. Will let you know how the experiment turns out! Sincerely, Gingergingerhillery@mac.com

  5. sallyzhare says:

    I have just discovered your wonderful website/blog (I'm not educated enough to understand the difference) — and am engrossed in reading it all! I am passionate about reading nonfiction/memoir — and growing in my desire to do more writing. I have admired you as one of my sheroes for a long time — and now, I have found another intersection of our interests! Thank you for this delicious read!

  6. Shirley says:

    How much fun it is to find you here, Sally. I consider myself a newbie in the blog world, but I am discovering all kinds of people this way. I'm glad to know of your interest and hope you will keep reading/commenting. Makes my day! I would just love to hear your lilting voice. Hope you are coming to Seasons again sometime this year.

  7. Hello, ShirleyI'm writing in the hopes that you'll find our contest fit enough for youronline review and community. Our information is as follows:The Memoir (and) Prize for Memoir in Prose and PoetryThe Memoir (and) Prize for Graphic MemoirFour prizes awared up to $500.Memoir (and) reading period for Spring+Summer 2010 (Issue 6): 5/1/09 -8/15/09. Accepting traditional and experimental prose, poetry, graphicmemoir, narrative photography, lies, and more. All submissions eligiblefor contest entry. Submit online or mail to: Memoir (and), P.O. Box 1398,Sausalito, CA 94966. Guidelines at http://www.memoirjournal.com.***ADDITIONAL CONTEST INFOThe Memoir (and) Prizes for Memoir in Prose or Poetry are awarded to themost outstanding prose or poetry memoir—traditional, nontraditional orexperimental—drawn from the reading period.Grand Prize for Memoir in Prose or Poetry * $500 cash award * Publication in print and online * Six copies of the journalSecond Prize for Memoir in Prose or Poetry * $250 cash award * Publication in print and online * Six copies of the journalThird Prize for Memoir in Prose or Poetry * $100 cash award * Publication in print and online * Three copies of the journalThe Memoir (and) Prize for Graphic Memoir is awarded to the mostoutstanding graphic memoir drawn from the reading period.Prize for Graphic Memoir * $100 cash award * Publication in print and online * Six copies of the journalThanks for the consideration, please e-mail your response toSubmissions@memoirjournal.com. We hope to hear from you soon!Mariel E. ValerioMemoir (and)

  8. Dee says:

    Hi Shirley, I enjoyed the article very much! I'm always interested in reading about the importance of getting our memoirs written, since it's a passion of mine. I've been teaching memoir-writing workshops in the Phoenix area for 12 years, and have written 2 books on the subject. The first – LifeNotes is out of print, and being revised. The second one, Write Your Life Story in 28 Days, was written for those who thought they'd never finish a typical memoir. It helps people choose the most meaningful events of their life to write about. Check out my website at http://www.lifestorylady.com. And I'll be checking back in your blog often! …Dee

  9. shirleyhs says:

    Hello, Dee. Thanks for checking out my blog. I presume the article to which you refer is the one on the value of writing memoirs published in the Kalamazoo Gazette? Your career in Phoenix sounds wonderful, and congrats on writing your own memoir books. I enjoyed seeing your blog also. Please do come back, often. One of my ambitions is to start cataloging all the other memoir blogs on my blog, but I haven't gotten there yet. Some day!

  10. irenevilar says:

    H Shirley, I am very impressed by your blog and wanted to bring to your attention the publication of my new memoir Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict(Oct.09). At irenevilar.com you can find the foreword by the great feminist Robin Morgan, excerpts, pre pub reviews, and the blog. Thanks! IrenePraise:“Impossible Motherhood is another dark perfect gem from Irene Vilar and a journey into a harrowing underworld but guided by Vilar's gifts and her light we emerge in the end transformed, enlightened and oh so alive. ”
—Junot Diaz, author The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao“Irene Vilar is a writer of extraordinary passion, erudition, and intelligence ”
—Tobias Wolff“I have never read a book like Impossible Motherhood, Irene Vilar’s disturbing, heart-wrenching, and ultimately triumphant memoir, for the simple and understandable reason that no one of her gender has ever summoned the brutally raw, transcendent courage to write such a book—and yes, confess to such a troubling story.”
—Bob Shacochis, author of Easy In The Islands”Irene Vilar's dramatic and beautifully drawn story forces the reader to confront the power of sexuality and procreation that often is the only power a young woman perceives she owns in this world. Impossible Motherhood is profound, raw, wrenching, and honest to the bone. Yet despite the title, its message is that no matter how intense the pain one has experienced, healing and redemption are in fact possible.”–Gloria Feldt, co-author of the best-selling Send Yourself Roses, author of The War on Choice, and blogger on Powered Women at http://www.GloriaFeldt.com

  11. shirleyhs says:

    Congratulations on publishing your story,Irene. It sounds like a powerful one indeed. What great blurbs, both here and on your website! I hope many readers will see this comment and find you. I am backed up in my own reading right now, so I can't immediately go to find your book. But I hope I can do so in the future.

  12. marleykd says:

    I'm not entirely sure The Heathen qualifies as a “memoir” blog but I would love to be included! marleytheheathen.blogspot.com

  13. shirleyhs says:

    Take a look on my blogroll, Marley. You are there!

  14. marleykd says:

    THANK you, Shirley!Off to drop off my oldest son, Luke, at Swarthmore this week! <sigh> I amso excited for him as I walk through learning to embrace change, discomfortand all.I am enjoying your cheerful posts…Marley

  15. shirleyhs says:

    Swarthmore is a great school. I'm sure Luke will thrive there.

  16. shirleyhs says:

    Swarthmore is a great school. I'm sure Luke will thrive there.

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