Gerard LaFemina, an assistant professor in the Frostburg State University Department of English, was honored at the spring meeting of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents with the Regents’ Faculty Award for Public Service.
The USM Regents’ Faculty Award is the highest honor that the Board bestows to recognize exemplary faculty achievement. LaFemina’s honor marks the fourth time in the past five years that an FSU faculty member has been honored by the Regents.
“It is an honor to have Mr. LaFemina at Frostburg State University. He is an exceptional teacher and has a vision for the Center for Creative Writing that sustains a vibrant and intellectual spirit that ties the University to the community,” said FSU President Jonathan Gibralter. “I am very proud that he received the Board of Regents Award for Public Service and it was very much deserved.”
LaFemina’s nomination highlighted his work piloting the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing, a literary arts outreach program developed within the Department of English and sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. As director of the center, LaFemina created partnerships with the arts, educational and business communities; developed quality educational and cultural programming; and promoted the economic impact of arts programming to the community at large. He facilitated the move of the center to Main Street in Frostburg where they now serve as a partner in Arts Walks and other downtown activities. Under his direction, the center has served over a thousand writers during the past three years through such innovative programs as their veteran workshops, the Visiting Writers series, the first annual One Act contest held in 2010 with entrants from throughout the country and the annual Nightsun Writers Conference in 2010 that drew writers from five states.
“Mr. LaFemina is one of the most outstanding young faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with an exemplary record of service to the community through his outreach activities,” said Dr. Joseph Hoffman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Gerry has proven himself to be a dedicated community servant committed to continuously expanding arts programming in Western Maryland.”
LaFemina has also offered programming for the past three years as part of the Savage Mountain Summer Arts Academy for high school students. These week-long, residential camps in Creative Writing and Garage Band have been very popular and well attended by students from the local region and throughout the state.
Other activities and events he has sponsored include several book groups and writing groups; free monthly craft talks with established writers; The Process of Making talks, which bring a writer and artists together with an audience to investigate the process by which “art” gets made; a regular writing workshop at the Group Home for Young Women at the Cumberland YMCA; and the annual Western Maryland Small Press Fair, which brings publishers and editors from around the region to Frostburg to meet with writers, readers and students from four states and the District of Columbia.
An active member of the Allegany Arts Council, LaFemina has served on their Board of Directors since 2005. He often partners with the Allegany County Library System to offer workshops and discussion groups and offers readings of his work within the local community.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity.