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Writings About the Sea launched at URI
Book spotlights prize-winning essays by students
KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 29, 2003 -- The sea has always been a key element in Edmund Rumowiczs life. His mothers family earned their living fishing Georges Bank and his father had a career in the U.S. Navy. Rumowicz, a 1957 University of Rhode Island alumnus, also served in the Navy, toiled in fisheries, summered with his family in a house by the sea, and sailed boats up and down the coast.
In 1995, Rumowicz and his wife, Nathalie, established an endowment anchored in the sea. The endowment supports three interrelated activities within URIs English Department: 1) an annual literature of the sea course, 2) a program of guest lecturers, and 3) an annual maritime essay contest opened to all URI undergraduates.
Some of those prize-winning essays have now been assembled into a book entitled Writings About the Sea. Recently published by URIs Department of English, the book was edited by Dorothy Donnelly, professor and chair of the department, and Sally Burke, a professor emerita of English. Funding for the book was provided by the Rumowicz endowment fund.
Subjects of the essays are as diverse as their authors who come from a variety of majors including marine affairs, political science, anthropology, geological oceanography, and marketing.
One author, Ian Catmur of Cambridge, Mass., a 1996 political science graduate, poignantly speaks of meeting his father for the first time in his essay Kittimat. Landing on the British Colombian coast when he was 7, Catmur catches fish, but no more than a glimpse of his father.
John H. Lahoud Jr. of Newport gives readers another view of a hurricane in his essay What About Bob? The 1996 marine affairs alumnus and devoted surfer writes "The hurricane season is like Easter or Passover for surfers. A time for rejoicing praise and prayer, all in anticipation of a Wave Messiah."
In her essay Undertow, Karen Pfeil of North Kingstown, a 2001 alumna who majored in English, becomes aware that her and her friends search for "waves of success, fame, and love" has strong dangers lurking beneath them.
In addition to Catmur, Lahoud, and Pfeil, essayists in the book include Ernest Borraccino of Jefferson, Mass., class of 2003, Titus DosRemedios of Warwick, class of 2002, Devin Crimmins of Wakefield, class of 2004, James Gruczka of Narragansett, class of 2005, Scott J. Kirkpatrick of Birmingham, Mich., class of 2000, Scott Lord of Riverside, class of 2000, Susan Lynch of Cambridge, Mass., class of 1998, Cheryl Madden of Westerly, class of 2002, Kathryn McRedmond of Sarasota, Fla., class of 1999, James Monti of Wakefield, class of 2000, and Elisabeth Nadin of Pasadena, Calif., class of 1999.
Writings About the Sea was launched at a book publication reception at the University in April. Edmund and Nathalie Rumowicz who now live in Florida were present, as was their friend, Henry "Harry" Anderson Jr., a former commodore of the New York Yacht Club.
The College of Arts and Sciences Dean Winifred Brownell said: "Today is a celebration of a number of voices thanks to Ed and Nathalie, and Harry Anderson (who also has given to the endowment and the URI sailing program). "Each year, the students represent the best of the best from across the curriculum."
URI President L. Robert Carothers called Rumowicz a man of the world "who has linked meditation, thought and reflection to what he has done in the world." Carothers said the Rumowicz Endowment reflects that approach.
Rumowicz said it was President Carothers who suggested an essay contest that would tie the themes of his life together. "It was a great fit. It is only appropriate to honor the sea because URI draws so much from it. "
The book is available at the University of Rhode Island Bookstore, the Rhode Island Book Company, and will be available in bookstores in Wakefield, Warwick, and Providence by the end of June. Books are also available by calling URIs English Department at 401-874-5244.