Rob Roensch, associate professor of English, was named the Katherine and Mary Clary Endowed Chair of Creative Writing earlier this semester.
Roensch is the first person to receive this endowment. It was given through an estate gift from Mary Clary Sargent and was named the Katherine and Mary Clary Endowment to recognize both sisters. The endowment will pay for the faculty position, Roensch said.
Roensch was given the award because of the work he does with creative writing on and off campus.
“This endowment is a recognition of how important creative writing and English are to a college,” Roensch said. “It’s mainly a responsibility to keep sharing that with the students and the community.”
What excites Roensch is the endowment’s backstory because it reflects how the university helped develop and support two students’ love of writing, he said.
Katherine Clary Corinth and Mary Clary Sargent are OCU alumnae from the 1930s. They went on to New York and had experience writing for Seventeen, Time and Newsweek.
Roensch has been teaching at OCU for four years, and some students regard him as an inspiration.
“He actually cares about writing as a discipline, as an art form. He cares about its function, its potential and how it serves in the world,” said Patience Williams, English senior.
Williams was in Roensch’s creative writing class and said she saw his love for creative writing firsthand.
“Roensch genuinely wants to help those who write to their highest potential, and he’s a great writer himself,” Williams said.
The endowed chair is a two-year position.
The next recipient will be chosen in 2019.