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Special Collections: Jack Williamson

A guide to using the Special Collections of Eastern New Mexico University

Jack Williamson

Pioneering science fiction author Jack Williamson was born in 1908 in Bisbee, Arizona Territory. He moved with the family from Mexico to Pecos, Texas. Traveling by covered wagon, in 1915 they arrived in southern Roosevelt County, New Mexico, where they settled.

Young Jack knew the farming/ranching life was not for him; he dreamed of going to the stars. His first story, The Metal Man, was published in 1928. His last novel, Stonehenge Gate, was released in 2005. His complete bibliography includes:

  • 55 novels
  • 11 novellas
  • 38 novelettes
  • More than 100 short stories
  • Two years of comic strips

Already a well-known science fiction author when he joined the faculty in 1960, he taught for 17 years at Eastern New Mexico University, where he earned B.A. and M.A. degrees. He later completed a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, writing a dissertation on H.G. Wells.

He won the Hugo and Nebula awards and was named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

ENMU's Jack Williamson Liberal Arts Building was renamed in his honor in 1995.

When he died in Portales on Nov. 10, 2006, at age 98, authors from around the world shared condolences and admiration.

Eastern New Mexico University's literary magazine, El Portal, offers a venue for the work of writers, artists and photographers.

ENMU students, national, and international writers are welcome to submit their original, previously unpublished short stories, plays, poetry and photography. No entry fees are charged. Cash prizes are awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners in each category (Only ENMU students qualify).

El Portal is published each semester at Eastern thanks to the late Dr. Jack Williamson, a world-renowned science fiction writer and professor emeritus at ENMU who underwrote the publication. El Portal has been published since 1939.

For submission guidelines and information, please contact:
Dr. Michael Rizza
Assistant Professor of English
Eastern New Mexico University

michael.rizza@enmu.edu

Or go to:
www.elportaljournal.com

Contact:
Dr. Michael Rizza
Assistant Professor of English - Creative Writing
Eastern New Mexico University
Department of Languages and Literature
Station 19
1500 S. Ave K
Portales, NM 88130

Dr. Jack Williamson, left, with Dr. Jonathan Smith, the first holder of the Williamson Endowed Chair

In 2000, Jack Williamson inaugurated the Jack Williamson Endowed Chair in Science and Humanities with one of the largest single gifts ever received by Eastern New Mexico University. The endowed chair makes it possible periodically to bring a visiting professor to campus for one semester to teach, conduct research and present public lectures.

The first holder of the chair was Dr. Jonathan Smith in spring 2002. An associate professor of English at Michigan State, he is the author of several books and articles on literature and science. During his semester at ENMU, he organized a colloquia showcasing Darwin's impact on science, literature and religion. He presented public lectures in Portales and Roswell, and taught a senior seminar in Portales.

In spring 2007, the chair supported Dr. Alberto Rojo, associate professor in physics at Oakland University (Michigan). He taught a course titled Twentieth Century Concepts of Time, Space and Matter and gave several lectures on science in literature. He has collaborated on many articles with scientists like Gerald Mahan and Anthony Leggett (2003 Nobel Prize winner in physics). His book with Anthony Bloch, The History and Physics of the Principle of Least Action, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2008. An accomplished guitarist, he has performed with well-known Argentinean musicians.

For more information about the Williamson Endowed Chair, contact:

Dean's Office, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Eastern New Mexico University
575.562.2421

When Dr. Jack Williamson retired from his position as professor of English at Eastern New Mexico University in 1977, the University established a lectureship series in his honor–the Jack Williamson Lectureship. Ever since then, writers, editors, artists and other speakers have gathered at ENMU every spring to share ideas, insights, and their work with students, readers, viewers, collectors and fans.

The annual Jack Williamson Lectureship includes a luncheon with presentations by the guest of honor and mistress of ceremonies, readings by guest authors, time for book sales and signing, and panel discussions on a variety of science fiction and fantasy topics. All events are open to the public and everything except the luncheon is free.

For more information, please visit the dedicated Lectureship page.

Rewarding experiences as a professor at Eastern for 17 years led Dr. Jack Williamson to fund ENMU scholarships that encourage excellence and international friendships.
In his autobiography, Wonder's Child, the renowned science fiction author explained how teaching brought another dimension to his life.

"Though writing is another social thing, it's lonely, the responses long delayed. In the classroom, what you say and do gets instant feedback. And you belong. You're accepted, commonly respected, sometimes even loved."

Scholarship Listing
For complete requirements of the Williamson scholarships and others administered by the ENMU Foundation, browse the online scholarship listing or call 575.562.2412.

Blanche and Jack Williamson Endowed Trust
Scholarships for students showing excellence in modern languages, literatures or science fiction.

Dr. Jack Williamson Outstanding Foreign Student Scholarship
Awarded to foreign undergraduate or graduate students on a visa (J-1 or F-1)

Jack Williamson Freshman Excellence Scholarships
Awarded to students majoring in English, French, Spanish, math, physics, chemistry or biology

"Jack Williamson was one of the great science fiction writers. He did a series of novels which affected me as a young writer with dreams. I met him at 19, and he became my best friend and teacher."
-Ray Bradbury, quoted in the Los Angeles Times

 

"I have no hesitation in placing Jack Williamson on a plane with two other American giants, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein."
-Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey

 

"Even though we don't have Jack to share our lives any more, aren't we all incredibly lucky to have had him with us for so very long?"
-Frederik Pohl, friend and collaborator for 67 years

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