Bassett will speak, receive honor during USD commencement Charles Bassett, professor emeritus of American studies and English at Colby College in Waterville, ME, will receive an honorary doctor of letters and literature degree Saturday, May 13 at The University of South Dakota's 112th spring commencement exercises.
The graduation ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m. in the DakotaDome. A graduate of USD, Bassett, 67, also will deliver the commencement address.
USD President James W. Abbott and Regent David Gienapp of Madison will confer degrees to approximately 1,000 students who are candidates for degrees at the annual ceremonies. Ann Raebel Turner of West Chicago, IL, will speak on behalf of the USD Alumni Association. USD music Professor Larry Schou will be the organist, playing Pomp and Circumstance. Mark Loder of Omaha, NE, will sing the Alma Mater. Emeriti Professors Jan Ebersdorfer and Allen Johnson will serve as honorary marshals.
Bassett, originally of Aberdeen, received a bachelor of arts degree in English/American literature in 1954 and a master of English/American literature degree in 1956 from USD. He was a graduate assistant instructor of English at USD from 1954 to 1956.
After earning a Ph.D. from Kansas University in 1964, he took his first teaching position, which evolved to assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania from 1964 to 1969. He arrived later that year at Colby College, a small, private college in Waterville, ME, which has been home to him since 1969. Recently featured on the cover of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Bassett was recognized for shaping the American studies program at Colby into one of the largest and most successful undergraduate majors (in the field) at any liberal arts college in the country.
Bassett's areas of expertise include English and American studies; American literature and realism and naturalism in American fiction; modern American literature, contemporary American literature and the works of John O'Hara.
Bassett and his wife, Carol Hoffer Bassett (died Feb. 5, 1995), have a son David and a daughter Elizabeth.