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They will be recognized at the 173rd Commencement

Retiring faculty members June Schlueter, Charles A. Dana Professor of English and former provost of the College, and Mercedes Benitez Sharpless, librarian for Kirby Library, have been elected to emerita status and will be recognized at the 173rd Commencement on May 24.

JUNE SCHLUETER, Charles A. Dana Professor of English and former provost of the College, has been a member of the faculty for 31 years. As provost from 1993 to 2006, she oversaw many advancements in the academic program, including an expansion in the number of faculty; the adoption of the 4/4 curriculum model, emphasizing interdisciplinary and collaborative partnerships; the installation of smart classrooms; the addition of new major and minor programs; and the renovation of Skillman Library.

A specialist in Renaissance and modern drama, Schlueter is the author of five books and editor of eight volumes. She co-edited Shakespeare Bulletin, a journal of performance criticism and scholarship, with her departmental colleague James P. Lusardi ’55 from 1984 until one year after his death in 2002.

Schlueter earned a bachelor of arts degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1970 and a master’s from Hunter College in 1973. In 1977, she completed her doctorate from Columbia University and joined the Lafayette faculty as an assistant professor. She was promoted to associate professor in 1984 and to full professor in 1991. She was named Dana Professor in 1992, the first woman to hold a chair at Lafayette.

Schlueter received Lafayette’s Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Lecture Award for excellence in teaching and scholarship (1984), Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Award for superior teaching and scholarly contribution to her discipline (1988), and Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for excellence in teaching and outstanding contributions to campus life (1992).

The Rare Book Room in Skillman Library is named in honor of Schlueter and her husband, Paul Schlueter, with whom she collaborated on four edited volumes, as is an endowment fund that supports a lecture series on the art and history of the book as well as book acquisitions. When Schlueter stepped down as provost, the faculty saluted her by adopting the following statement:

The Faculty of Lafayette College expresses its grateful appreciation to June Schlueter for her devoted service as Provost of the College, 1993–2006. A distinguished administrator, teacher, and scholar, she has led the Faculty through a time of remarkable curricular reform and has helped us improve the quality and diversity of the student body. As chief academic officer, she has encouraged and supported the development of the faculty, individually and collectively, with dedication, fairness, and a concentration on the best in every person. By her scholarly accomplishment she has demonstrated exemplary commitment to learning. In supporting and advancing the breadth and richness of academic life and in defending academic values, she has exemplified the ideal of liberal education. She has played many roles and played them well. Her purpose has been to promote the success of others and the good of the College, and through her courtesy, generosity, loyalty, and tireless devotion to Lafayette, she has been truly a leader of her peers.

MERCEDES BEN�TEZ SHARPLESS has been librarian for the Kirby Library for 32 years. She has overseen the growth of the Kirby collection from a law library of some 12,000 volumes to a level now exceeding 30,000 volumes including an expanded focus on government. She coordinated a temporary relocation of the collection during the renovation of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

A devoted participant in the life of the Department of Government and Law, Sharpless also has provided valuable assistance to faculty in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures as liaison to Skillman Library’s Spanish-language book collection.

Sharpless has collaborated with faculty members who received Information Literacy grants to add components to their classes to give students a greater understanding of the ways in which information is created, disseminated, and organized in our society.

An avid supporter of Lafayette’s chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, and of Hispanic cultural events on campus, she has guided and befriended many international students through the years.

Sharpless served as moderator of an essay contest for high school students held in connection with the Lafayette conference on Paul Robeson’s history and development as an intellectual.

A native of Colombia, Sharpless earned a bachelor’s degree in library science at the University of Antioquia in Medell�n in 1960. She earned a master of library science degree at the University of Michigan in 1964. A former vice president of the Lehigh Valley Association of Academic Women, Sharpless is active in the American Association of University Women. The Professional Women of Lafayette saluted her efforts to foster closer ties between the AAUW and Lafayette women students and faculty. Her commitment to the community also includes service on the Northampton County Drug and Alcohol Commission.

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