Literature classes bid farewell to Richard Fadem

Richard Fadem - Contributed photo
Richard Fadem
— image credit: Contributed photo

When the members of the Continuing Education class in literature wanted to do something for Richard Fadem upon his concluding the course and ultimately leaving the Island and teaching altogether, they took up a collection to give him a parting gift appropriate to all he had given them. They decided to recognize an outstanding English/Literature student, Sarah Turner, by naming her on a sponsorship of $750 through OIEF in honor of Fadem. Sarah and Richard have the love of reading and writing in their blood.

Sarah, a junior in Orcas High School, was selected because of her excellence in and love of the written word. “I grew up surrounded by books,” she says. “It’s no surprise that reading became a natural part of everyday life for me.”

Fadem who has lived on Orcas since 1998 started teaching the Adult Literature Class in 1999 with some 15 students. Over the years, three courses per year, it swelled to more than 50 and was one of the most popular courses offered through Skagit College’s Extension. Fadem earned his Ph.D. in 19th-century British Literature and was a professor of English and Humanities at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate School until 1998. His classes on Orcas also included works in poetry, philosophy, and fiction from other periods and cultures because, in his words, “Over some 24 courses I ran out of 19th-century British books.”

After their last meeting of the course on Thursday, May 31, Fadem’s class of 50 had lunch together on the deck of the Orcas Island Country Golf Club where Fadem received the news of the sponsorship donation. “I could have received no better gift. I must say that these classes--attended by inquisitive, experienced, knowledgeable, challenging adults—represent for me the most stimulating and rewarding teaching I’ve done over the past forty-six years. Once again it is clear that Orcas’s most precious resource and greatest asset are its residents.”

Upon receiving the award, Turner said, “I am very honored that I was chosen from among all the students at the high school, Although my name is the one that was chosen, all the students are grateful to anyone gracious enough to help out the school. On behalf of every motivated student, whether their love lies in literature, science, math, or history: thank you so much for doing this for us."

After a trip to Italy, Fadem plans to make his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico

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