Honoring a Creative Half-Century of Teaching

Creative Writing Program celebrates Professor Lester Goran’s 50th teaching anniversary.

Coral Gables (May 12, 2011) — The 50th teaching anniversary of an inspiring professor and beloved mentor was celebrated when the University of Miami Creative Writing Program honored Professor Lester Goran with “Tales from the Irish Club,” a reception held April 21 in the Newman Alumni Center.

“We honor Lester Goran and all he has done for the University of Miami, for the students who studied under him, and for the academy of letters where he has not only contributed his own books of literature, but the books of his students,” said M. Evelina Galang, director of creative writing and associate professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of English, where the Creative Writing Program is housed. “For every student who leaves our program, another book is in the world, another chance to explore this human condition and all its possibilities.”

The more than 100 students, colleagues, friends, and family members who attended included former students Tom Cavanagh ’89, Crissa-Jean Chappell ’99, Hayes Roth ’72, and Judge Arthur Rothenberg, who studied with Goran 50 years ago. They toasted their mentor and shared inspiring stories about the impact he made on their lives.

“Lester Goran has given his writing students the time and space to discover the stories they want to tell and how to tell them,” Galang said. “All he does—and he’ll tell you this himself—is get out of the way.”

Goran, a faculty member in the English department since 1960, helped to establish the first creative writing curriculum at UM in 1965 and the MFA Program in 1991. As a faculty representative on the UM Publishing Board, he oversaw such University publications as literary magazines and The Miami Hurricane, UM’s student paper. During his teaching career, Goran has taught more than 20,000 students and written eight novels, a memoir, and three short-story collections.

Goran has been honored throughout the 2010-2011 academic year by the Goran Reading Series. Hosted by the Creative Writing Program, the event brought some of his most accomplished students back to campus, including Michelle Richmond, M.F.A. ’98; Paul Perry, M.F.A. ’97; Chantel Acevedo, M.F.A. ’99; and Terrence Cheng, M.F.A. ’97. The series culminated on April 21 in an interactive panel with alumni Cavanagh, Chappell, and Roth, which preceded the reception event.

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From left to right: dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Lester Goran; M. Evelina Galang; and Tom Cavanagh ’89.

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