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[BKARTS] Michael Suarez to head Rare Book School

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Charlottesville, Va. Michael F. Suarez, S.J., will be the new director of Rare Book School (RBS), a bibliographical institute based at the University of Virginia.
UVa President John T. Casteen III announced the appointment Thursday morning during his keynote address at the 50th annual preconference of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the American Library Association, being held in Charlottesville this week.
Suarez, 49, succeeds the retiring Terry Belanger, a 2005 MacArthur Fellow who founded RBS at Columbia University in 1983 and brought the school to UVa in 1992. Like Belanger, Suarez will be a University Professor at UVa, a senior rank that gives its holders unusually broad opportunities for teaching and research. He will take up his new position beginning September 1, 2009.
Suarez currently holds a joint appointment as J. A. Kavanaugh Professor of English at Fordham University and as Fellow and Tutor in English at Campion Hall, Oxford University. A Jesuit priest, he is both co-editor of "The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Volume 5, 1695-1830," to be published in September, and co-general editor of "The Oxford Companion to the Book," expected in January 2010. He is also co-editor of the eight-volume Oxford University Press edition of the Collected Works of Gerald Manley Hopkins, in progress. A former president and long-time board member of the Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, he has published an edition of Robert Dodsley's "Collection of Poems by Several Hands (1748-58)," the best-selling poetry anthology in eighteenth-century Britain; the selected essays of D. F. McKenzie ("Making Meaning: 'Printer's of the Mind and Other Essays"), and has written many articles on various aspects of 18th-century English literature, bibliography, and book history. He has also held research fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Rare Book School is an affiliated foundation of UVa, with its own endowment and board.
"Michael Suarez is admirably qualified to take on the RBS position," said William T. Buice, III, the chair of the RBS Board of Directors, and a partner in the New York City law firm of Davidson, Dawson & Clark. "I was impressed by his intelligence, enthusiasm, and eagerness to lead RBS."
The search committee for the RBS directorship consisted of three members of the RBS board and three members from the UVa community.
"The search committee was greatly impressed by Suarez's insight into the part that RBS has played in humanistic research over the past 25 years," said chair Beverly P. Lynch, a professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. "We liked his ideas about continuing RBS's traditions while expanding the ways in which the school can be useful."
A former Marshall Scholar, Suarez has won several awards for his poetry, as well as for bibliography and literary criticism. He holds bachelor's degrees from Bucknell University and Oxford University (first class hons.). He has a D.Phil in English literature from Oxford University, where he studied with D. F. McKenzie; , and he holds M.Div and Th.M degrees from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology.
RBS currently offers short non-credit courses for adults on subjects ranging from medieval bookbinding structures to modern fine printing. Each year, about 250 students take courses at the school both in Charlottesville and in New York City, Baltimore, and Washington DC. Admission to the school's five-day courses is competitive. RBS is noted for the excellence of its faculty, many of whom are world-renowned in their fields.
RBS students include curators and rare book librarians, academics, antiquarian booksellers, book conservators and binders, and book collectors. About 6,000 students have taken courses at the school since its founding in 1983.
The school employs a widely admired --though rarely imitated -- course evaluation system in which attendees write detailed prose accounts of their experience at the school. Their comments are then mounted permanently and in their entirety on the school's website, <http://www.rarebookschool.org/>www.rarebookschool.org.
Suarez brings an unusually varied background to RBS. "He will fit right in here," says retiring director Terry Belanger. "At RBS, our theme song is 'other duties as required.' I'm honored that a person of Michael Suarez's distinction has agreed to take over the directorship of the school."

Terry Belanger University Professor, Honorary Curator of Special Collections Director, Rare Bk School : University of Virginia Rare Book School : PO 400103 : Charlottesville, VA 22904-4103 Email belanger@xxxxxxxxxxxx : Phone 434-924-8851 : Fax 434-924-8824 URL <http://www.rarebookschool.org>

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