New chair makes splashy start
Only a few weeks into his new duties as chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures (DFLC), Jolyon “JT” Hughes made a big splash with colleagues and students on the Pullman campus.
Hughes challenged fellow DFLC faculty and staff to join him recently in a bold display of icy determination to raise funds and awareness for the ALS Association, a charity dedicated to curing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Along with Hughes, those who braved being doused with ice-cold water, as part of the nationally popular “Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS,” were professors of German Rachel Halverson and Joshua Bonzo, academic program coordinator Laurie Heustis, professor of Spanish Francisco Manzo-Robledo, and the department mascot, Tomás the Gnome.
“When I was challenged, I thought it would be a great opportunity for all of us in the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures to show support for a very worthy cause,” Hughes said. “It was also a chance to challenge others on campus to get wet or get generous.”
The splashy event was held before scores of cheering students and community members on the lawn behind historic Thompson Hall, where DFLC is housed. A $200 donation in the department’s name was made to the charity.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, usually leading to paralysis and early death. The ALS Association supports research and advocacy to help disease victims and their families live fuller lives.
A change of command
Hughes succeeds Lori Wiest as chair of DFLC, which offers courses in six languages and a variety of classes in cultures, literature, film, and global studies. An expert in German medieval literature and the history of Germanic languages, he previously taught at Colorado State University where he received the Best Teacher Award in 2010.
Wiest, who has been on WSU faculty since 1991, completed her two-year term as interim chair in July and recently accepted new duties as an associate dean for the college. She will also continue serving as a professor in the School of Music, director of choral activities, and coordinator for the voice area.