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DeBellis named First John Updike Scholar in Residence

Date: 9/30/2010

Dr. Jack DeBellis, a member of The John Updike Society board who is best known for two invaluable resources — The John Updike Encyclopedia and John Updike: A Bibliography of Primary & Secondary Materials, 1948-2007, has been appointed the university’s Updike Scholar in Residence. In this role, DeBellis will foster critical study of Updike’s work on Alvernia’s campus through lectures, interactions with faculty and students and published articles. He will also provide advice and counsel related to the creation and development of the university’s Updike archive and collection.

“I am excited and honored to serve as the university’s first Updike Scholar,” said DeBellis. "Because Alvernia is close to Shillington and Reading where Updike was born and raised, and since the John Updike Society archive will be housed on campus, I and other scholars will have an extraordinary opportunity to further the study of the fiction and poetry of one of America's most celebrated writers.”

Alvernia was recently selected to house The John Updike Society archives to promote research into the literature and life of John Updike

The editor of John Updike: The Critical Responses to the “Rabbit” Saga as well, DeBellis is Professor Emeritus at Lehigh University and the program director for the First Biennial John Updike Society Conference.

“You could not ask for a more qualified and well respected academic to serve as our John Updike Scholar in Residence,” said Shirley Williams, Alvernia’s provost. “Jack will add so much depth to the study of John Updike on and outside our campus. Our students will gain unparalleled insight and perspective from his years of work, research and interactions with the Pulitzer Prize winning author.”    

Alvernia was founded in 1958, the same year Updike saw publication of his very first book, The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures. It is a fast growing Franciscan university of 3,000 students which combines diverse academic opportunities with personal attention and an unmatched commitment to community service. The university has been recognized by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as one of only 119 institutions among the thousands of American colleges and universities considered models of civic engagement and community partnerships.

Situated on a scenic 121-acre suburban campus in historic Berks County, Pa., the university is conveniently located near Philadelphia (60 miles) and within an easy drive of New York, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. With a College of Arts and Sciences and College of Professional Studies, Alvernia offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and minors including pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry, law, and veterinary medicine. The university also provides a range of graduate programs at the master’s and doctoral levels through its School of Graduate Education and Continuing Studies.


Related News:

Alvernia to house Updike Society Archives

Updike Conference public sessions announced

Acclaimed author Ann Beattie and nationally recognized painter Lincoln Perry will serve as the keynote speakers

Conference returns "Rabbit" to his roots


  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.