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Dr. Cherry says goodbye after 41 years of service to Eastern

Imagine a college with about 400 students with an English department of only three professors. This was the state of Eastern when Dr. Caroline Cherry joined the staff 41 years ago in the fall of 1968, when the university was still known as Eastern Baptist College.

Cherry, after many decades of service to Eastern as both a professor and as the chair of the English department, will be leaving Eastern at the end of the year.

According to Cherry, after her husband got a job in the area, she applied to many different places. At Eastern, she finally felt at home.

“I found the quality of students and the quality of instruction very high,” Cherry said.

While at Eastern, Dr. Cherry has seen many students come and go and has taught many current Eastern professors and employees.

“I’ve taught a lot of people – Kevin Maness, Bettie Ann Brigham, Joyce Munro,” Cherry said.

In addition, Cherry noted that she has taught many children of former students. “Eastern is a place where you can keep up with students from 40 years ago,” Cherry said.

Throughout her time here as an English professor, Cherry said that she had been greatly affected by William Shakespeare, John Milton and William Blake.

Eastern has offered Cherry many opportunities to teach on a variety of subjects. At one point Cherry taught a film class, which Kevin Maness currently teaches, called The Art of Media.

Last semester, Cherry had the opportunity to teach a class on Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison. “[I had] an excellent group of students – a chance to explore two great 20th century authors with a group of intelligent young women,” Cherry said.

“I have grown to appreciate Eastern’s virtues and strengths over the years,” Cherry said.

Cherry commented about Eastern’s “intimate nature” which has been portrayed in the “Christ-centeredness of the college.” She noted that being at Eastern has been unique because it allowed her to “have the chance to grow in a community of Christian scholars.”

“It has influenced my own growth,” Cherry said.

As for the future, Cherry may be returning in the fall to teach part-time. However, she is hoping to pursue painting and drawing, to see if they are things she truly enjoys.

“I hope to read more for pleasure and spend more time with my children and grandchildren,” Cherry said.

Looking back over her time at Eastern as it comes to a close, Cherry said that she will always remember “having the influence of close relationships with people … all these wonderful people.”

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