Bruce Coville, former teacher, author of over 100 children’s books and Oswego State alumnus, will give the keynote speech at this year’s Quest, the title of which has been released by Quest’s coordinator.
“Ripples Become Waves: How What You Do Now May Mean More Than You Can Guess,” is all that is currently known about Coville’s prepared speech, according to Norm Weiner, director emeritus of the Honors Program and this year’s Quest coordinator.
Weiner said he thinks the speech could be about the choices students make in college and the chances they take with those choices at this uncertain time in their lives.
“I think Bruce is very aware that he’s not simply talking to other writers,” Weiner said. “I think what students can gain from [the speech] is a sense that — well, I think two things. One is a sense that whatever you do there’s creativity involved. I mean, even if you’re, I don’t know, a chemist. Chemists don’t just follow books, they think, they go, ‘wait, I wonder if this would work.’ There’s always creativity and I think that’s one of the points that he may make. And I think another point to be taken away from it is don’t be afraid to take chances.”
Coville’s occupations as both a writer and a teacher have generated approval in the creative writing department for him as this year’s keynote. Robert O’Connor, an associate professor in the department, said Coville is a good choice “for a lot of reasons.”
“One of them was that he was both a teacher and is a writer,” O’Connor said. “So this is an interesting time in education right now where there’s all sorts of questions about how much testing we need, and in some ways what authors do is they say, you know, people are an exception. They don’t necessarily fit in easily in the boxes.”
O’Connor also said he couldn’t recall the last time they had chosen an author as keynote for Quest in the past, but said he thought the choice of Coville was an indication of a good trend.
Weiner had more reasons for why he wouldn’t budge on Coville being the keynote this year other than that he was an author, however.
“I’m the one who chose him,” Weiner said. “What I told the people that I’m answering to was that he was my only choice for keynote speaker, and if we couldn’t get him I didn’t think we should have a keynote.”
Weiner went on to say he chose Coville not only because he had impact as an author, but also as an innovator and risk-taker.
“I thought he was someone who the students would recognize, so that would be a draw,” Weiner said. “I thought he led a very interesting life, he started out as a teacher and then he started to write children’s books, and got successful at that, and then he started to go off into a different direction with something called Full Cast Audio, and basically it’s what we used to call books on tape. So he’s somebody who’s been creative, and he’s somebody who’s not afraid to take chances, and he’s an alum—I just thought he was the perfect choice.”
Coville’s speech, “Ripples Become Waves,” will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Quest Day, in the Campus Center auditorium. The event is free and open to anyone who would like to attend.