GREAL Alumni Newsletter - May 2007

Volume 7, No. 2
May 2007

Dear Alums:

Hard to believe, but graduation day is here again! We're just as proud as can be of these new grads. Our best wishes to our alumni, too. Here's hoping words never fail you!

-- Robert Di Donat, Chair

Graduating Seniors Awards Day

Forty graduating seniors majoring or minoring in German, Russian, Japanese or Chinese were recognized in GREAL's annual Recognition and Awards on May 23 at the Miami Inn Tavern.

This year marked the first graduating class of the East Asian Languages and Cultures major. Four students are graduating in this program, three of them with a Japan concentration, one with a China concentration.

The German graduating class named a favorite high school German teacher, Mary Ann Verkamp of Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Indiana, who traveled to Oxford to accept the award.

Special awards given to German students included the Jacques Breitenbucher Scholar-Leader Room, to Bobbie Estus; the Erich Steiniger Memorial A ward to John Kohler and Heather Miller; the Marion Lee Miller Award to Timothy Struve and Dan Witkowski; and the Gisela Bahr Award to Suzanne Glisch.

Cash awards were given to the outstanding students in first through fourth-year courses in Arabic, Chinese, German, Hebrew, Japanese and Russian; books and other small gifts were given to all graduating seniors.

Entertainment for the occasion was multicultural: An Arabic song, "Habebie"; a German "Beschwerdechor" ( complaints choir); "Tysa" (Clouds), sung and danced by Russian students; a traditional dance "Soran-bushi" by Japanese students; "Lubinghua" sung by Chinese students; and "Leh-hit-rahot" and "Henay mah Tov" sung by Hebrew students.

The awards and the refreshments for this event were provided by the named funds of the department, as well as by the GREAL Gift Fund, for which we thank our alumni whose gifts continue to enrich these funds.


"Packing up to move: that's when you find the things that remind you of the past," says Przemyslaw (Johannes) Tokarski, outgoing director of the German Language Floor in Wells Hall.

He first came to Miami University from Munich in 2000 as assistant director of the German Floor, and after a break in Munich to complete his master's degree in German as a Foreign Language, became German Floor director. He's lived in Wells Hall with the students during that time, and taught regular language classes as well.

What Tokarski found when he packed to move from his Wells Hall apartment: photos of excursions to Cincinnati for the Oktoberfest, of Christmas cookie baking in Wells Hall, of Musikabende; copies of "Das Fenster," the German-language student paper, and videos of Miami students in a German-language soap opera set in Wells Hall.

Fully fluent in German since he left his native Gdansk, Poland, to study at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Tokarski speaks flawless English, though, as he says, "I had a little bit of trouble that first year with grammar explanations in English."

He'll be able to take all those memories to his new digs, though, since he's going to stay in Oxford. In the fall he will be a graduate student in Miami's Spanish program. He plans a new career as a high school teacher of German and Spanish.

Alumni News from All Over

Madeleine Sulyi Knapp Disney (1963) is teaching German at Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception college prep school in Oldenburg, Indiana, which she tells us is a "true German experience," with street signs in German, among other things! Kelly Armstrong (2003) started law school at Chicago-Kent in fall of 2006, is considering a law school semester in Hamburg or Augsburg, Germany.

Ashley Meier Barlow (2000) has joined the law firm of Tranter & Meier in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky. She and husband Brandon expected their first child in April. Gena Kittel is living with her family in Neustadt, Germany, the site of the 2007 World Cup Ski Jump, recently featured on German TV.

Marisa Bowersox (2006) left for Peace Corps service in Albania in March.

Christy Guffy Charlton (1988, M.A. 1990) is teaching German at Jones Middle School in Upper Arlington, Ohio, and attended a two-week Goethe Institut course in Munich last summer.

Eden Radebaugh Shupp (1998) and Deacon Shupp (1999) had a daughter, Romy Elise, February 25. She joined her sister, Ava Corina, who will be 3 on May 12.

Mike Price (03) is finishing law school and considering a master's oflaw in Germany. Dusty Wilmes will be a Fulbright English teaching assistant at Novosibirsk State Technical University in Russia.


Dr. Mieko Ono (Japanese) will participate in a workshop on "Dynamic Assessment in the Classroom," June 25-27 at Penn State University.

Dr. Robert DiDonato will visit Germany in May to collect materials for his course on the German detective novel and return to direct Miami's Visit America Program for students from Korea.

Dr. Irina Goncharenko leaves May 18 to direct Miami's Russian program in Novgorod, Russia.

Dr. Nicole Thesz will present a paper on Gunter Grass at a the Conference for Baltic Studies in Luneberg, Germany.

Dr. Noriko Reider will lecture on Japanese literary demons ( Oni) at the Asian Conference in Tokyo. Rachel Rachovitsky will go to Israel to search out new Hebrew teaching materials.

Dr. Liang Shi will lead Miami's new Intensive Chinese Program June 25- August 3 in Tianjin, China.

Dr. Benjamin Sutcliffe will take students to Moscow and St. Petersburg for the Havighurst Summer Workshop.

Dr. Michael Bachem will be a facilitator for the Maine Humanities Council "Let's Read" program, on Friedrich Diirrematt's Der Richter und sein Henker and Der Verdacht.

Dr. Ruth Sanders will visit Munich, Germany, to collect materials for her book manuscript on the social history of the German language .