Presidential Professor

Presidential Professors are appointed by the president of the university to serve as public scholars who enrich the cultural and educational life of the university and the state. President Milliken has appointed two Presidential Professors: Ted Kooser, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, who is also a faculty member at UNL; and Enrique Martinez Celaya, a renowned painter, sculptor and poet. “It is my hope and expectation that the Presidential Professorship will help demonstrate that the University of Nebraska is one great statewide institution, with exceptional talent and resources available among the campuses and throughout the state,” Milliken said.

Enrique Martínez Celaya

Enrique Martínez Celaya
Enrique Martínez Celaya, Delray Beach studio, Florida, 2007 [original]
Internationally renowned artist Enrique Martínez Celaya has been named Visiting Presidential Professor at the University of Nebraska for 2007-2010. His role will extend well beyond the classroom. His visits to NU’s campuses and communities will create unique educational opportunities for students, faculty and Nebraskans. During his three-year appointment, Martínez Celaya will work with art students and will lead faculty and graduate student seminars and colloquia on art, philosophy and literature. In 2007-08, he spent one week each semester at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; in 2008-09, his work will be concentrated at University of Nebraska at Omaha. In addition, students will have the opportunity to participate in internships in Martínez Celaya's studios in Florida and California.

Born in Cuba, Martínez Celaya also spent his childhood in Spain and Puerto Rico, where he developed an interest in art, science, philosophy, and literature before attending Cornell University, where he majored in applied physics. He pursued a Ph.D. in quantum electronics at the University of California-Berkeley but ultimately decided to abandon his doctoral work for art. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine and received his M.F.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was Associate Professor of Art at Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate University (1994-2003).

Read more: Enrique Martínez Celaya

Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser
Photo courtesy of Charles W. Guildner, UNMC 1957
In 2005, Ted Kooser of Garland, Neb., was named as the first recipient of the University of Nebraska Presidential Professorship. Kooser, the former Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, is a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the author of a number of collections of poetry, including “Delights and Shadows,” for which he won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, and two non-fiction books. As Presidential Professor, Kooser serves as a university-wide and public scholar, visiting Nebraska communities and University of Nebraska campuses to lecture, participate in discussions, read poetry and otherwise participate in the life of the entire university and state. In Kooser’s case, the designation recognizes his extraordinary work in sharing his art and time with people across Nebraska and the United States.

Kooser has earned national recognition for his life’s artistic work and for making poetry more accessible to a wide range of readers while bringing extraordinarily positive attention to the university and the State of Nebraska. His weekly column, American Life in Poetry appears in newspapers across the United States.

Read more: Ted Kooser
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