Lee Cadwallader, Pat Bevan Scholarship Recipient, 2016
Meet Lee. He’s a self-described “patient and non-traditional” student, trying to savour every last drop of English course time his degree requirements will allow. Those who have had the good fortune to find themselves in classes with Lee will remember his warm, insightful, and candid contributions to class discussions. For those yet unfamiliar with his charisma, here’s a sense of why Lee is our Pat Bevan Scholarship recipient.
When asked what draws him to the study of literature, Lee exclaims, “more like what doesn’t?! I live to interpret and discuss art, and English classes allow me a venue to do so with other like-minded people. Art can tell us a lot about who we are, but also where we are going—and perhaps, where we should go.”
Lee’s written work certainly stands out, but he’s also careful to acknowledge the ways that his thinking is always enriched by classroom communities. “Group discussions are essential to learning,” he explains, “because you get a variety of people from different upbringings, different cultures, and different areas of study involved. You can take what you learn from the experience of others and begin to consider things on your own time that you would never have unilaterally arrived at. Forming insulated opinions and biases can be quite dangerous and group discussions help counterbalance that tendency.” With this attunement to the collaborative potential of social spaces, it’s no surprise that Lee’s written work often foregrounds the importance of social justice as a way to “grapple with the necessity of growth and change.”
Are you getting a sense of Lee’s immanent quotability? In part, this command of voice comes from his playful interrogation of what brings seemingly disparate ideas, texts, and people together. Remembering a vital moment in his recent English course on the History of Literary Criticism, Lee remarks, “what I learned is that thinkers have been saying the same things about art since Plato. Like, we’re reading Aristotle and Saint Augustine and I’m penning margin notes about Nine Inch Nails and Magnolia. Old or new, great art probes the human condition and gives you those sublime moments outside of yourself.”
Lee’s plans are to finish a post-baccalaureate in Education. If his future students can distill even a tiny essence of the passion, generosity, and enthusiasm for learning that animate Lee, they will be very lucky indeed.
Since Lee is becoming a teacher, it makes sense to conclude with his characteristically playful and smart advice to other students: “Whether on your own time, or through class selection, brush up on those Greek myths you’re avoiding. They’re great, and they’re everywhere.”
Here’s what Lee would put on your “to-read” list:
- For its sobering reflection on the ever-present Western obsession with superheroes, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen
- For its prescient questions about the internet and dark comedic notes, Dave Eggers’ The Circle
- For its powerful, yet accessible musings on youth, mortality, identity, and human exploitation, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go