Little did Patrick Berry realize what awaited him when said adios to the hustle and bustle of the big city and set his sights on a Midwestern college town 100 times smaller.
Transitioning to life in Champaign-Urbana was the culture shock of culture shocks — but in a good way, says Berry, now an associate professor of writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University (Ph.D. ’11).
“In 2004, I left New York City with my wife and daughter to visit the Center for Writing Studies as a prospective graduate student,” he says. “There, I found a group of professors and students who were overwhelmingly kind and smart, and I remember thinking, ‘This is amazing. Everyone is so great ... but wait, is this real?’
“Fortunately, it was.
“Gail E. Hawisher, the director, set the tone and was instrumental in building an inclusive and supportive community.
"Along with finding a research focus — thanks to Peter Mortensen, who was my dissertation chair; Paul Prior; Cathy Prendergast; and Anne Haas Dyson as well as Gail — I made many great friends at CWS, and I see it as a model of excellence in doctoral study.”