This week, we feature Ella Kirk, professor of French and entrepreneur-in-action at the Terrier Bakery. Continue to check back for more faculty profiles.
What attracted you to join the Hiram College community?
I was immediately attracted to Hiram because of its location! I bet that is a first! Seriously, I love the countryside around here. I was teaching in upstate New York at the time a position came open in my discipline and, on the return from a weekend cycling excursion I did from Columbus to Portsmouth around the same time, I drove by to scope the area before applying and loved it! Then I learned about who went here, and the fact that it was a place where lots of first generation students came really appealed to me. I am one of those too! And then, finally, after my on-campus interview, I remember sitting in George Gauthier’s office with the entire language department sharing some afternoon sherry, laughing and talking about literature and language and I thought – this is where I need and want to be. The rest is history.
What would you like people to know about you beyond your role here at the college?
Hmmm…what secrets do I still conceal from this place after 19 years? It is well known that I am a pastry chef and baker, that I love to bike, quilt, garden and hang out with my family. Let’s just keep it like that, OK?
What is your favorite book, and why?
I am devoted to the idea of no favorite book. Too many to choose from! But I do love all of Albert Camus’ literature with a real passion and am also a big fan of Balzac, Zola and Flaubert. And my academic specialization is 17th and 18th century French literature, so I love Diderot, Voltaire, Molière and Laclos! But I vary my reading a lot and recently have been in love with Junot Diaz and Murasaki’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles. See? Refuse to name just one!
What attracted you to your academic discipline?
Living in France really helped! Loving literature ranked right up there as well! I mean, how cool is having a job where you get to read books, discuss them, write about them and turn others on to them AND get paid for it? Speaking the language, teaching it to others and seeing them grow is a really big high too!
How would you describe Hiram students?
Absolutely irrepressible! Diamonds in the rough whose sparkle glows at the beginning of their journey here and continues to radiate more brilliantly over time.
Finish this thought: People at Hiram might be surprised to know that I …
Adore Clint Eastwood, although he’s often a fool.
What opportunities has Hiram offered you as a person and/or a professor?
Hiram has offered me the chance to be the rather odd person I am at the core …and not laugh (too much) about it. I’ve really become eclectic here and that seems to be OK. I think I would have long ago checked out of academia if I have been put into one cubbyhole.