A shared love of literature, family, and friendship illuminated Swain Library on May 23. Nearly 90 guests came together to celebrate the establishment of the Betty Lou Blumberg Endowed Chair of English with An Evening of Literature in Betty Lou’s honor.
Bill Hunter, a Hamden Hall faculty member who was hired by Betty Lou in 1983 and eventually followed in her footsteps as English Department chair, served as moderator. Bill kicked off the program by reading from his own book of retrospective poems, Great Fields Behind Us—reflections about his childhood, nature, and the richness of literature. Bill’s fondness for Betty Lou has resulted in a lifelong friendship, and he said that one of the best parts of the evening was having Betty Lou back on campus—saying she “left us too soon!”
Betty Lou, taking her turn at the microphone, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all in the room—donors to the Endowed Chair in her name that included family, friends, colleagues, and alumni. “I am deeply moved,” Betty Lou said. Looking back on her three decades of teaching at Hamden Hall, from 1971 to 2001, Betty Lou described her colleagues as “wonderful human beings with whom I shared this place, and a love of teaching, of literature, of art.” She gave a loving tribute to her two daughters, Nancy and Debra, and especially to her husband, Joe Blumberg, for their unwavering support of her work. As for her students, with whom she shared all the things she loved in her life: “You can’t find better students anywhere.” Betty Lou then shared a little of herself, reading two poems that held great meaning to her: one about her mother’s death, and the other about the last time—shortly before her retirement—she walked her students to a park across Whitney Avenue where they would write poetry.
To make a gift, click here. On the donation page you will have an opportunity to share a Betty Lou memory with us. We will publish your reflection on this page.