Stephenson Center Summer Lectures

The New Opportunity School for Women and the Stephenson Center for Appalachia present three nights of music, poetry, and history

Celebrate Appalachian culture and history with three summer events hosted by the New Opportunity School for Women and the Stephenson Center for Appalachia.  

On June 9, Back Porch Anarchy will take the stage to perform traditional old-time porch music. The band consists of Lees-McRae faculty members Matthew Wimberley, Scott Huffard, and Tim Shatley, along with Trevor Brown. 

Wimberley will return on June 16 to read from “Daniel Boone’s Window,” his book of poetry set to be released in September 2021. “Daniel Boone’s Window” was selected by Dave Smith for the Southern Messenger Poets series. According to the LSU Press, the collection “works to reclaim and reckon with the realities and complexities of Appalachia” and “seeks to dispel monolithic narratives of the region. Wimberley, an assistant professor of English, recently received acclaim for his debut book, “All the Great Territories,” which won the Weatherford Award for poetry from the Appalachian Studies Association. 

The event series concludes on June 23 with a presentation by Michael Joslin entitled “Appalachian Women: Your Living Heritage.” Joslin spent three decades as a professor of English at Lees-McRae and served as the director of the Stephenson Center for many years before retiring at the end of the Spring 2021 semester. He incorporates over thirty years of scholarly research and personal experience living in Appalachia into his work. Joslin is a prolific writer and photographer as well, and has published numerous books about Appalachia. His most recent book, “Mountain Summer,” is the second in a series exploring the seasons of the Appalachian Mountains.  

The first and third event will take place in the Evans Auditorium of the Cannon Student Center at 7 p.m. The poetry reading on June 16 will take place in the Shelton Learning Commons at 7 p.m. All three events are open to the public and will also be livestreamed on the New Opportunity School for Women Facebook page.  

The New Opportunity School for Women was originally founded in 1987 by Lees-McRae alumna Jane Baucom Stephenson ‘57 in Berea, Kentucky. Lees-McRae became home to the second New Opportunity School in 2005. The mission of the New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae is to improve the educational, financial, and personal circumstances of low-income women—usually between the ages of 30-55—who live in or hail from the Southern Appalachian region. The curriculum is designed to foster skills that will help them approach life and work from diverse perspectives. 

The John B. Stephenson Center for Appalachia was founded at Lees-McRae to promote understanding of and appreciation for the Southern Appalachian region in students, faculty, and the wider community.  

By Emily WebbJune 08, 2021