Steve Coughlin, Matt Evertson and Markus Jones at the summit of success: Western Literature Conference, Estes Park, CO, 2019.

Dear CSC Friends:

As you return to campus this fall, it might occur to you that I have not been in my office very much this semester. In fact, it might also come to your attention that I apparently don’t even have an office anymore. If you are in any way concerned about this, please know that I am okay. This past February I was offered a position as a creative writing professor at Western Colorado University. Though it was a difficult decision to leave CSC (you can ask Dr. Evertson who basically had to make the decision for me), it has always been a dream for me and my wife to live on Colorado’s Western Slope with access to some of our favorite places in the high desert and Rocky Mountains. Also, the Gunnison Valley, where Western Colorado University is located, has always been one of our favorite places to visit. Of course, with the excitement of moving to one of our dream locations I had to also leave one of my dream jobs.

CSC is not simply someplace that I worked these past six years. It has been a place where I have gotten to grow as teacher, writer, thinker, and—most important—as a person. When I arrived at CSC the creative writing program was only in its beginning stages. But because of you (the students, my colleagues, administration, staff, and the wonderful community of Chadron), I was provided a front row seat to watch creative writing grow and flourish throughout campus. There has been no greater joy in my professional life than guiding CSC students in the discovery of their own unique voices and creative potential. There is also no greater sense of achievement I have experienced than watching so many of my former students continue to write long after I submitted their grades simply because they realized—as I hope all of us realize—how words shape the communities in which we live.

In these strange and unsettling times, I am even more convinced that nothing short of a full commitment to our shared humanity can see us to a place of healing and national growth. By continuing to write—by continuing to read and to think and to celebrate the saving powers of literature—we will be reminded of all that binds us together, all that makes us human, and— ultimately—what it is that will allow us to rise above.

It has been such a privilege to work at CSC and I will dearly miss all of the people that make CSC such a special place.

Best wishes and do stay safe.

Dr. Coughlin

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