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Fall 2001, Volume 19.1

Tribute

 

Sherwin Ward Howard
February 19, 1936 — August 18, 2001

Photo of Dr. Sherwin W. Howard.
Announcing our annual Dr. Sherwin W. Howard Poetry Award

In this season of loss, weber studies has experienced a full measure of its own. Sherwin W. Howard passed from us after a short but insistent battle against malignant melanoma. The courage, care, and dignity with which he passed remain with us as a model of how Sherwin lived—gentle and spirited.

A rare human spirit, Sherwin touched everyone who either knew him or worked with him; whether his unerring guidance or well-worn wisdom, he gave fully. Devoid of even an iota of malice or ill, he dealt with everyone with charity and tolerance and an ingrained sense of good humor that was a hallmark of his presence.

Many of his contributions, which testify to his creative leadership, have transformed the landscape of our community. The highly successful Utah Musical Theatre was his brainchild; likewise, weber studies, which in the last phase of his career he edited with such distinction, was a creation of his. The Early College Program, English as a Second Language Program, Writing Across the Curriculum, Computer-Assisted Writing Center, and the Eccles Conference Center all owe their existence to his creative vision.

The numerous honors and awards bestowed upon Sherwin bespeak of his extensive involvement and stature well beyond the pale of the university. He was the recipient of the Utah State Governor's Award in the Arts, Higher Education Administrator of the Year Award, Utah Education Association's Honor Roll Award, and the Golden Apple Award from the Ogden City School District, to mention just a scattering of awards and recognitions Sherwin received in Utah and elsewhere for a lifetime of exemplary service and contribution to public and higher education.

Perhaps what brought the utmost professional, personal, and creative satisfaction to Sherwin was his three-year tenure, from 1992-1995, as president of Deep Springs College situated on the border of California and Nevada. He left Weber State for his stint at Deep Springs to give his free-ranging spirit and poetic talent the freedom they needed to flourish and discover, in Sherwin's own words, "what it means to live with the desert's vagaries."

And flourish they did. Sherwin loved to bring order to nature and create patterns of exquisite but delicately filigreed emotions on the printed page. He imposed upon his poetry a pattern born out of a poet's sense of beauty. And for Sherwin, primal wisdom and beauty were synonymous—a poem was as much art as it was life. And Sherwin thought of life as a well-lived poem. He has left behind much to celebrate in both.

Sherwin will be missed by all of us—his family, whom he loved above all and beyond anything on earth, his wife Annette most of all, and by countless friends whose lives he touched. Sherwin is gone. We are blessed that he shared his good and generous life with us.

—Candadai Seshachari, colleague and friend
    Weber State University Faculty Senate
    Memorial Tribute, 20 September 2001

 

As we continue here at weber studies, we offer our deepest sympathy to Annette and the family. It will not be easy to fill the imprint that Sherwin has left behind. In this time of transition, we are, with deep respect, committed to take on the task. Sherwin, thank you for your generous vision, talent, and friendship.

—Brad L. Roghaar, editor weber studies
    Kay Anderson, editorial assistant
    Kathryn MacKay, associate editor
    Michael Wutz, associate editor

 

Commencement

Yesterday is forever damned
to the greying corners of memory
and the present too is just a blink
that slips away to join the gathering dust

only the future is secure
unseeable and far
but certain as the August winds
that track great clouds across blue mountain sky

so come
let's celebrate the good and generous hours we've shared
and seek still better ones to come

for every song you sing
I promise I will hum along
and hold your hand
'til one of us may have to go

and going is no cause for tears
not now
not then
so sing or tell a story once again to some bright child

today is the beginning
of all tomorrows

—Sherwin W. Howard

 

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