Whittier College plans to give writers honorary doctorates

first_img“Their visit is truly an educational opportunity for this community.” The Chilean- born Allende, 65, considered one of the most prolific and lauded Latin American writers of her time, is best known for her book, “House of the Spirits,” which was made into a movie. She has written more than a dozen novels, short stories and plays and has won numerous literacy awards and honors. Gordon, 70, who graduated from Whittier High in 1955, is an attorney who also became a community activist for Spanish-speaking men and women injured on the job. He has written three novels, including “The Chinese Jars” and “The King of the Bottom.” WHITTIER – Famed authors and humanitarians Isabel Allende and husband William Gordon, a Whittier High School graduate, will receive honorary doctorates from Whittier College during a formal ceremony, reception and book-signing on campus Thursday. This is the first such event for the college, which had previously awarded honorary degrees to guests and speakers only during annual commencement ceremonies. But this year, officials decided to do something different to provide more room for honorees to meet with students and interact with them in class. “We are so fortunate to be able to attract these two people to our campus and our community, and have them share their time with us,” said college President Sharon Herzberger. Together, the couple established the Isabel Foundation in 1996 in memory of their daughter, Paula Frias. The foundation seeks social justice and empowerment of women, girls and children. “The accomplishments of both authors are in line with Whittier College’s mission and how we educate students,” said literature professor Doreen O’Connor-Gomez, who helped organize Thursday’s ceremony. “(Gordon) has said he feels very connected to the college because the excellent teachers he had at Whittier High graduated from Whittier College,” O’Connor- Gomez said. “And they were both chosen primarily for their humanitarian efforts and their commitment to the community and education.” On Thursday, Allende and Gordon will visit a class in the afternoon, then receive their honorary doctorates of humane letters during a formal ceremony at 7:30 p.m. in the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, 6760 Painter Ave. Allende and Gordon will speak briefly, then the college will hold a dessert reception and the authors will be available to sign books. The ceremony, reception and book-signing is free of charge and open to the public. The authors will make two more appearances at the college on Friday morning before wrapping up their visit, officials said. For more information on the event, call (562) 907-4912. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more