Topophilia, or the love of place, is something all of us experience in various degrees of intensity for one or more important places in our lives. For most people, the place where they grew up retains a place of special affection in their hearts and minds. It is there that they were nourished and enriched by the landscape. But it is also possible for people who relocate to become very attached to the new environment and draw renewed sustenance from this adopted landscape.
Such has been the experience for Bill and Margery Vandament.. ( "A Sense of Place")
MARQUETTE--In their six-year association with Northern Michigan University, William and Margery Vandament became enamored with the distinctive qualities of the Upper Peninsula and its people. As a tribute to the indelible mark they left on the region, their names are embossed on the cover of a new book entitled, A Sense of Place; Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Essays in Honor of William and Margery Vandament.
Hard-cover copies of A Sense of Place were presented to the couple at a recent farewell dinner at NMU.
"The Vandaments have always referred to themselves as a team, so this was a way to honor both of them for what they brought to the university and community," said Michael Marsden, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Their relocation to Marquette soon became an extended stay. Bill and Margery not only accepted their new environment, they embraced it. In turn, they enriched it with their easy style and genuine graciousness."
"It's no secret that we are quite taken with the culture and history of the Upper Peninsula, and have been since the moment we arrived," said William Vandament. "In fact, we know more about the history of this region than we do about the towns we grew up in. Marge and I are humbled to see our names on this book. It is a wonderful gift that will serve as a lasting reminder of the time we spent here."
A collection of work celebrating someone's career is called a festschrift. The idea for the project originated with a suggestion from NMU historian Russ Magnaghi to Marsden, who serves as coordinator of the NMU Press.
"When the president's retirement was approaching, we wondered what kind of present we could give them as a personal gift from the faculty that would also tie into their interests," Magnaghi said. "We wanted to do more than merely buy them something, so we produced the festschrii't. It commemorates their work and makes a nice souvenir for them to take home to California."
A Sense of Place covers the vast spectrum of the U.P. experience with articles on culture, history, economy, foodways, literature, recreation, research collections and education.
"Some of the best research and writing on the U.P. is being done right here on campus," added Marsden. "We took some of the finest work produced by faculty and staff and collected them in a single volume. This could easily serve as a textbook on the culture and history of the region."
Published by the Northern Michigan University Press, A Sense of Place is available at the NMU Bookstore. Prices are $21.25 for the hard cover and $11.75 for the paperback.
William Vandament served as NMU's president for six years. He and Mrs. Vandament are retiring to their home in Long Beach, Calif.
Mike Marsden can be reached at 227-2701; Russ Magnaghi's number is 227-1229