John Adair

Associate Professor, English
Academic Divisions - Arts, Humanities, Developmental Studies, Health Science and Math
Fine & Performing Arts Building
856-691-8600, 1297
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AB degree with a triple major in German, Mathematics, and Psychology, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan
MA degree in English, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware
Completed Course Work for a Ph.D. in English Literature, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware

My convoluted journey to 50 years as an English professor at Cumberland County College began as a youngster living in Hamil, South Dakota, learning from my exposure to Native Americans and from my parents’ teaching that everyone is created equal.

The second stage took place in the third grade in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, where my love of books and of reading was inculcated:  I joined a statewide reading contest for third graders . . . and won having read 130 books: hence my life as a voracious reader started. [Since then I have averaged 100 or more books per year].  There I also lived through the death of my father, an experience that early on molded me to be sympathetic to the stages of dying and death.

The next stage was moving to Cumberland, Maine: here I lived in the beautiful pine-scented nature of Maine; my romps through nature soon turned me to writing about these experiences in poetry [I later discovered that this experience was an early Wordsworthian Romantic influence]; since then I have written and published poetry throughout my life.  During this time I read all of the classics in the Harvard series of great books.  In 1956 I graduated as Salutatorian from Greely Institute in Cumberland Center, Maine; my speech at graduation was on the need to expunge racial segregation from American society.  I was one of six students in the United States to receive an AMVETS scholarship; we met in Washington, DC, where we appeared on the Dave Garraway Show with Vice President Richard Nixon; as a special reward I was given an in-depth personal tour of the Library of Congress.

I attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I began as a pre-med major but found that too restrictive; in a semi-Renaissance focus I finished with three majors: German, mathematics, psychology (with almost a major in Greek).  With a scholarship I entered graduate school in statistical psychology at Bowling Green State University but due to health circumstances returned to Grand Rapids to work at one of the largest banks in Michigan.  While there, I began to enroll in graduate courses in English from the University of Michigan extension; these professors encouraged me to continue in a graduate program in English.  Hence, after moving to New Jersey, I completed my graduate work in English at the University of Delaware.

I received an MA in English with a dissertation on the Biblical influences in Thomas Hardy’s novels.  While working on the MA, I was also a graduate TA in the English program at the university.  I was then hired to teach English at Cumberland County College.

I am now entering my 50th year at CCC.  It has been an exciting journey. In the process I served as Division Chairperson for seven years.  In this position a “modern miracle” occurred when I wrote and received the first grant for an EN 101 computer lab.   Four major events have happened over the years.  First, I married my wife, Marie, 43 years ago.  With her brilliant education background, she has been a powerful inspiration.  Secondly, I survived a heart attack.  Thirdly, over the years I introduced and taught the following courses: Shakespeare, African American Literature, The Bible as Literature, and The Short Story.

Finally, to broaden my intellectual horizons and upgrade the quality of material presented in my classes, I spent 32 summers enrolling in seminars at Oxford University [Brasenose College, Magdalen College, and Corpus Christi College], Cambridge University [Downing College, Peterhouse, and Corpus Christi College], Edinburgh University, and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland).  These unique experiences enabled me to learn from Pat Dunckler, a famous feminist novelist in the British Isles; at a seminar at Cambridge on Shakespeare, to meet and chat with Sam Wanamaker as he was developing and erecting the new Globe Theatre; at a seminar on Wordsworth and the Romantics, to engage in a one hour conversation in the student pub at Brasenose College with the great, great grandson of William Wordsworth.  A final highlight was reading some of my poetry at High Table at Brasenose College.

As an active member of MLA (Modern Language Association) I have met and talked with Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, and Ralph Ellison.

Photography and travel are my hobbies; they serve to supply pictures that enhance material presented in class : for example, a presentation of the ancient theatres in Greece for EN 102; a presentation of the English Lake District of the Romantic Poets for EN 202; and a look at the new Globe Theatre for EN 280.