On Sunday, April 5, 1998, our '96-'97 Moby crew had a reunion to celebrate the arrival of Robert Del Tredici at NKU. RDT, whom we had all come to know at the Rockford Gam a year earlier, had arrived in Highland Heights to be the featured speaker at our Convocation of Honors the next day. The subject of his lecture--"Whales, Atoms, Eyes: The Art of Robert Del Tredici"--was also the title of an exhibition of his prints and photographs on two floors of our Fine Arts building. This exhibition was the first one to have combined his Moby Dick Illustrations from the 1960s with his photography documenting the nuclear industry from subsequent decades. The "Eyes" of the exhibition were those of cinematic directors as photographed by Del Tredici.
Our Moby reunion on April 5 was at Dr. Wallace's home in Bellevue, where we had met as a class every other Sunday night during the Spring 1997 semester. After consuming a delightful lunch prepared by sociologist Joan Ferrante (Dr. Wallace's wife), we were treated to another characteristic bag of tricks (and gifts) by our honored guest. RDT rolled out a long blueprint scroll featuring many of his favorite Moby-Dick images, which he proceded to cut up and distribute as party favors. He brought out some of the original drawings from which his Moby-Dick prints had been made. And he distributed some extra copies of the prints themselves. This recalled the generosity with which he had fed-exed extra prints of the brand-new Gam Folio to me on May 15, 1997, so that each student could choose one at our "final" Moby farewell party that night.
Another highlight of our April 5 reunion was made possible by Michael Phillips, of the National Association for Humanities Education, in Provo, Utah. He sent by special mail multiple copies the brand new issue of Interdisciplinary Humanities (volume 14, no. 2) featuring the essay that Dr. Wallace and members of the Utah crew had written up after their presentation in Provo a year earlier. This was a first publication for most of the student authors, and its just-in-time arrival made another nice party favor for everyone in the group. (The essay itself is reprinted in our group Utah page.)
Del Tredici's visit to NKU in April 1998 benefitted a whole new group of students--including those in my 1998 class on Melville and the Arts (who were then in the process of creating their own artistic responses to Moby-Dick, and who prepared for Del Tredici's visit by study his photography as well as his more directly Melville-inspired art). In addition to meeting with my class for a videotaped interview about his Moby-Dick creations, and Tom Zaniello's class on documentary film and video, as well as a photography class in the Fine Arts Building, Del Tredici gave the Honors Convocation lecture that was the main event of his visit. With a few weeks of his return to Montreal, he sent a new portfolio of 27 photographs, the Quackfolio, seven of which document the recent afterlife of Queeqeeg in her Coffin II, one of the works that Abby Schlachter had exhibited a year earlier in Rockford.
All of the Moby crew who were in town that day made the reunion. Of those not in town, Lindsay Hixson was in Portland, Oregon, pursuing a master's degree in Sociology at Portland State University. Kristin Sekoski was in Las Vegas, taking some time off before beginning graduate school in Art History at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Brian Cruey was still at New York University, where he was to graduate in May, with hopes of entering the Peace Corps in the fall.
I will extend this postscript as further developments warrant. In April 1998 the most dramatic development on the personal front was that Melissa Magner had recently become married, and is now Melissa Lail. At NKU's commencement in May 1998 Rob Kallmeyer received the outstanding graduate award in both Psychology and Philosophy. In the Summer of 1998 Lindsay Hixson was already back at NKU as a teacher, teaching a Sociology course in Race and Ethnicity before returning to Portland to complete her Master's Degree. As Rob heads off to Aarhus, Denmark for a post-graduate semester,another academic year is beginning for those members of the crew who are still students at NKU. It is rumored that "the course that never end" will in fact end with the presentation to be made at the National Collegiate Honors Conference in Chicago in early November . . . .