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Rusche comes full circle as mentor and role model

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English professor Harry Rusche says that receiving the 2012 George P. Cuttino Award for Excellence in Mentoring is special, "because when I first came to Emory, George Cuttino was my mentor. He was one of the best influences on my career."

Established in 1997 by trustee John T. Glover, the mentoring award was named in honor of the late George Peddy Cuttino who was known as a guide and counselor beyond the classroom.

Cuttino became a model for Rusche. "I watched the way George interacted with his students and colleagues. When dealing with students early in my career I would often ask myself, 'What would George do?'," he says.

"I was working on history and literature and he helped me with my first two important articles in The English Historical Review," Rusche continues. "He always asked me to serve on committees with him. He, my wife Sue, and I became close friends."

Rusche's teaching and research interests are Shakespeare and current trends in recent poetry.

"As for my own work, an important aspect was the beginning of digital scholarship when several of us won a Culpeper Grant that allowed us to set up summer programs for faculty and graduate students," he says. "The program not only introduced the faculty to teaching with computers, but prepared a number of graduate students to leave Emory for [positions at] other colleges with skills in technology and teaching."

He has three ongoing projects, all of which are online: "Shakespeare and the Players," a survey of the many English and American actors who played Shakespeare's characters for late Victorian and Edwardian audiences; "Shakespeare Illustrated," exploring 19th century paintings, criticism and productions of Shakespeare's plays and their influences on one another; and "The Great War, 1914-1918," a collection of pictures and poetry in collaboration with Emory Libraries' Beck Center.

The 2012-2013 year will be Rusche's 50th year of teaching. Among his honors are the Emory University Outstanding Award early in his career in 1968, the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award in 1987, and his appointment to the Arthur M. Blank Distinguished Teaching chair in 1992.

"One of my earliest awards for teaching was, I am sure, the result of [a nomination from] George Cuttino," he says.   

Rusche says he attends most Commencements, "even when I don't march," as he enjoys meeting the parents of students he has taught or advised. "It is always a pleasure when I have a chance to congratulate parents on what a splendid job they did in raising bright, enthusiastic kids."

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