The English Department at University of the Cumberlands (UC) has announced that Jolina “Miller” Petersheim, ’08, a novelist and UC alumna, will deliver the 2017 Dr. Robert L. Palmer Memorial Lecture on Monday, March 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the Correll Lecture Hall. This event is free to the public, though seating is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“Petersheim is a fantastic writer and speaker, who has found success through her novel writing,” said Jamey Temple, an English professor at UC. “We’re proud to call her one of our own. Her visit will feel like a homecoming to many of us.”
Petersheim graduated from Cumberlands in 2008 with a degree in communication arts and English. As a student, she initially worked for the campus newspaper, The Patriot, before transitioning to Pensworth, the English Department’s literary journal. She also received the department’s first ever creative writing award for her short story, “Secrets at the Thresherman Show.”
Since graduating, Petersheim has published several novels, such as The Alliance, The Midwife and The Outcast, that have been featured on bestseller lists from Amazon, Huffington Post, USA Today and others. Having grown up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Petersheim’s novels primarily explore her Pennsylvania Dutch and Mennonite heritage.
“Students will be able to hear and see a writer who not long ago sat in their position,” Temple said. “Petersheim is a champion of other writers, no matter where they are in their journey, so I hope her lecture will inspire students to continue. Even if they’re not writers, her story shows the results of hard work and determination.”
The Dr. Robert L. Palmer Lecture Series is dedicated to Dr. Palmer, a former member of the university’s English Department, who sought to draw attention to the power of the written word. The lecture series was first established by his nephew, John Palmer, a businessman from Mississippi and a U.S. Ambassador to Portugal, in his uncle’s memory.
Past speakers in the series have included Jim Wayne Miller, a Kentucky poet and scholar; Frank X Walker, a Poet Laureate of Kentucky who coined the term “Affrilachia”; Billy Collins, a U.S. Poet Laureate; and Lee Smith, a North Carolina Novelist.
Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands is an institute of regional distinction that currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major areas of study; 10 pre-professional programs; 10 graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certificates in education; and online programs.