Professor Chuck Slattery is accomplished at starting
over. After earning a doctorate at the University of Iowa, he spent 17 years
teaching German language
and literature at Northwest Missouri State University before switching careers.
At fifty he decided to become a librarian and enrolled at University of Illinois,
which he calls "the best library school in the nation." In 1983 he
secured an instructor rank position in Library Services at Central Missouri
State University. Beginning as a cataloger, he later moved into a humanities
librarian spot, and also spent eleven years teaching cataloging courses. In
so doing he worked his way up to a full professorship.
Now he has started over again. In March Dr. Slattery retired. He looks forward to restructuring his life and filling in what he calls "big gaps in my education." He will continue his study of the Italian language, partly prompted by his love of opera (he is an enthusiastic supporter of the Kansas City Lyric Opera) and will take up the guitar. He may also reshape his doctoral thesis about the German dramatist, Frank Wedekind. He will keep fit through tennis, golf, walking in the country, and bicycling around Lee's Summit and, during the summer, along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, his native state.
Dr. Slattery regards our new library as "a wonderful accomplishment." For academe in general he believes faculty will have to move beyond a defense of turf and assume the role of "self-appointed watchdogs" to ensure that higher education survives as something higher than "just another business." He is also concerned that in adopting technology we not become mere tools of its trade, and that the liberal arts not be hustled through the technological system like "a badly handled package." Dr. Slattery deliberately chose the spring to retire. He mentioned the scene in the opera La Boheme, with its words, "At the blossoming of spring, there's the sun for companion!" May he have many sunny days.