Film Historian Will Be Next Gasson Prof.

By Sandra Howe
Staff Writer

Richard A. Blake, SJ, a scholar of film history and a professor of English at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY, has been appointed the Thomas I. Gasson, SJ, Professor for 1996-97 and 1997-98.

Fr. Blake, who has taught at Le Moyne since 1987, has researched and written extensively about the history of American film and has been the main film reviewer for America magazine since 1971.

"This is a great honor and a wonderful opportunity to devote more time to reading and writing at a prestigious institution," said Fr. Blake. "I also look forward to being in Boston, a city with a great reputation for its film offerings."

The Gasson chair, reserved for Jesuit scholars, is the University's oldest endowed professorship. Fr. Blake will teach a course on American film history and will present public lectures reflecting his current research, including one sponsored by the Jesuit Institute.

"We are very excited about Fr. Blake's arrival, which comes at the same time we are trying to raise awareness of our Film Studies Program," said College of Arts and Sciences Dean J. Robert Barth, SJ. "Fr. Blake will make a significant contribution to the program and help us think through what we need to do to move it forward so it can become a full-fledged major."

Fr. Blake's appointment also reflects the University's increasing attention to the arts during the past several years, Fr. Barth added.

"He brings with him strength in the study of film - both nationally and internationally - allowing us to build on what we already have," said Prof. John Michalczyk (Fine Arts), director of the Film Studies Program, which is now a minor.

Michalczyk said Fr. Blake's book The Lutheran Milieu of the Films of Ingmar Bergman , which Michalczyk has used in his classes, is a pioneering study of the religious aspects of Bergman's earlier films. Fr. Blake has also authored Screening America: Reflections on 5 Classic Films , and Woody Allen Profane and Sacred . In addition, he co-edited Jesuit Spirit in a Time of Change and has written numerous articles for a variety of periodicals.

Fr. Blake joined Le Moyne College as an adjunct professor of English in 1987, becoming an associate professor in 1989. Since 1991, he has been rector of the Jesuit Community at Le Moyne and is a member of the college's board of trustees. From 1985-86, he was holder of the Jesuit Chair at Georgetown University, where he was a visiting professor the following year.

Fr. Blake holds bachelor's, philosophy and a master's degrees from Fordham University. He holds a master of divinity degree from Woodstock College and a doctorate in radio, film and television from Northwestern University.

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