Marilyn Gaddis Rose’s 45- year career at Binghamton University has been celebrated with the recent publication of a festschrift, written and edited by her students and colleagues.
Translation and Literary Studies: Homage to Marilyn Gaddis Rose, published in January 2012 by St. Jerome Publishing, is a testament to the far-reaching consequences of her scholarship and mentorship.
“It was very nice,” says Gaddis Rose, distinguished service professor of comparative literature. “I was quite touched.”
A festschrift — a term borrowed from German denoting a celebratory piece of writing — constitutes a great honor in academia. Its publication pays homage to a respected faculty member and contains contributions from both colleagues and undergraduate or doctoral students. Or, in Gaddis Rose’s words, said with dry humor and amid laughs, it is a work “done by former students for a faculty member who hasn’t died yet.”
The publication, launched last winter at Hunter College of the City University of New York, includes 10 individual essays from former students, in addition to an interview with Gaddis Rose. All of the contributors submitted work corresponding to their current personal research, trajectories shaped and influenced in some way by Gaddis Rose.
Gaddis Rose says that the publication has “most languages represented,” further demonstrating the diversity of pursuits and fields her students have pursued. In reviewing the table of contents, she stops and lets her finger linger over the entry of Tarek Shamma, noting that he is “one of the best students we’ve ever had.” Over the course of his six years at Binghamton University, he earned a certificate, a master’s degree, and a doctorate in translation studies and comparative literature, a time during which he worked closely with, and was mentored by, Gaddis Rose. He now works as a professor in the Translation Studies Department of the United Arab Emirates University.
Gaddis Rose, who began her academic career studying English at the University of Missouri, worked her way through school as a newspaper reporter. From there, she won a Fulbright that took her in 1952 to the Université de Lyon in France, a country to which she would return numerous times. Later, she received her doctorate from the University of Missouri.
Her Binghamton journey began in 1968.
“Like many people, I came here to start a new life,” she says. “I wanted to leave the Midwest, and SUNY Binghamton — and particularly the SUNY system — had just been featured in Time magazine with a cover picture. And it seemed like a place to start a new life.”
Gaddis Rose quickly set down roots in the area, saying that she has chosen to remain in the Binghamton area because she became “established” and “settled in.”
“I’ve connected with the community,” she says. “So you would find me involved with the Preservation Society, or the Art Mission [Theater] or the sister-city group.”
The University also played a significant role in helping Gaddis Rose create her new life, as “the campus has been very supportive” with “colleagues who were willing to help,” she says. In fact, Gaddis Rose says, “some of the people who were here when I came in 1968 are still here.” One such colleague —Professor of Comparative Literature Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit — gave the official toast at the festschrift ceremony.
Gaddis Rose has remained committed to both the Binghamton area and to the University over the years, making major contributions to the University and playing a crucial and constant role in its evolution. She founded the Translation Research and Instruction Program — TRIP — as an initial outgrowth of the Comparative Literature Department. As the founding editor of the American Translation Association scholarly annual, she has further enriched her personal advancement and ability to shape the University’s programs in both translation studies and comparative literature.
Gaddis Rose is also a major donor to the University: She has given generously over the years to numerous projects and to the most recent comprehensive gift campaign, Bold.Brilliant.Binghamton. It is also common to see Gaddis Rose at University promotional events, even taking the time to travel to off-campus venues such as the 2010 campaign kickoff in New York City.
With an unstoppable energy, Gaddis Rose continues to teach Harpur College students in comparative literature and currently sits as a member of 23 different dissertation committees. A framed enlargement of her festschrift’s cover now hangs in her office, covered with signatures and well-wishes written in a multitude of languages — languages as numerous as the lives she has touched and shaped.
— Alexandra Wolkoff
Last Updated: 6/3/15