A Celebration of Life
English and Creative Writing Remember Alumna Susan Hastie, '02
Carlie Sisco, English and creative writing '19
A Touching Tribute
Dr. Daniel Robinson, professor of English, takes to the mic during an event to celebrate the life of Widener alumna Susan Hastie, '02.
Susan Hastie, a 2002 Widener University graduate, is remembered by her professors and peers to epitomize "the open-mindedness and seriousness essential to the study of literature and writing." During her time at Widener, Hastie, an English and creative writing alumna, worked on the literary journal The Pioneer Review and served as an officer in Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society.
This past May, Hastie passed away after fighting a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis.
To honor her memory, Widener University's English department hosted the first open mic of the semester as an in memoriam poetry reading. Widener alumni, faculty and students gathered on Sept. 22 to share several selections of Hastie's poetry and read pieces of creative work she would have enjoyed. More importantly, the night was spent celebrating a life and recollecting on time spent together.
Dr. Daniel Robinson, professor of English and friend to Hastie, shared anecdotes regarding conversations the two had in response papers and through e-mail. "She was sweet, but she was fiercely intelligent," Robinson said. "She took pleasure in reading so many different points of view. I've never had a student like Susan."
Close friend and former classmate of Hastie, Brian O'Rourke, also expressed similar sentiments. "She had such a unique perspective on life, on literature, on just about everything," O'Rourke recalled.
Several current students also attended Hastie's reading to honor one of their own. "I think that this showed how close the English Department faculty members actually are to their students and is an example of how much they care," said sophomore English major Iyanna Rosado, who called the event "beautifully done."
Dr. Janine Utell, professor and chair of English, closed the event with the announcement of the Susan Hastie Memorial Award.
This award, funded by the English Department, will be given to a senior who has demonstrated a quiet dedication to the work and mission of the department, as well as maturity as a scholar and writer. The awarding of this honor recognizes a student whose potential has developed during their time at Widener, evinces a seriousness that contributes to the learning environment of English and creative writing and combines dedication and accomplishment in pursuit of their work.