Letter from Our Director

As we head into the new academic year, I hope you’ll pause with us to celebrate your friends and colleagues’ inspiring accomplishments in 2016–17. At the Obermann Center, we’re in the privileged position of seeing projects through stages from the earliest ambitions to exploratory conversations to what I have come to see as “snapshot” moments—an initial presentation at the Obermann Fellows biweekly seminar, a reimagined syllabus, that first grant application, a sudden meeting of minds at a campus-community conversation, the eureka moment when collaborators connect, the instant students in our graduate institute recognize kindred spirits. As you click through the pages of this report, you’ll catch glimpses of this often-overlooked process of discovery and invention as well as the outcomes of our programs.

DSC_9442The Obermann Center furthers the research, teaching, and engagement mission of the University thanks to the generosity of a large community of supporters. I am, as always, indebted to my extraordinarily talented Obermann colleagues—Jennifer New, Erin Hackathorn, and Jenna Hammerich. We wish our student assistant Freya Yu all the best as she returns to China. I also want to acknowledge our Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellows for their work with us—Matthew Hannah, Melissa Moreton, and Christina Boyles, who is headed off to an exciting new career at Trinity College.

I greatly appreciate the support of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, especially Vice President Dan Reed and Senior Assistant Vice President Ann Ricketts. The Graduate College has steadfastly supported the Obermann Graduate Institute. The collegiality, hard work, wit, and wisdom of our several advisory boards are invaluable.

Once again this year, the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been a great gift to the Center and the campus. The Foundation provided continued support for the project “Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry: A Grinnell College/University of Iowa Partnership.” Thanks to a fine proposal integrating research and book arts from professors Paul Dilley, Katherine Tachau, and Tim Barrett, the University of Iowa was awarded our first ever Sawyer Seminar, which we were happy to support, along with other units on campus.

Finally, I offer my warmest thanks to all who donated to the Obermann Center. We have never needed votes of confidence in the arts, research, and scholarship more than we do now. Please consider contributing to the Obermann Center. We see countless opportunities for new initiatives and new “snapshot” moments that we can create with your help. We look forward to seeing you at our many public events in 2017–18!


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About Obermann Center

The University of Iowa’s Obermann Center for Advanced Studies in Iowa City, Iowa.