English Professor Considers UA Home After 50 Years of Service

English Professor Considers UA Home After 50 Years of Service

By Amy WilliamsUniversity Communications
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Charles Scruggs
Charles Scruggs
Scruggs with daughter, Elizabeth, in 1985. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Scruggs)
Scruggs with daughter, Elizabeth, in 1985. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Scruggs)
Scruggs and daughter, Elizabeth, at Machu Picchu. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Scruggs)
Scruggs and daughter, Elizabeth, at Machu Picchu. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Scruggs)

Charles Scruggs packed up his bags almost 50 years ago and moved to Arizona from Delaware in the middle of July to be an English professor at the University of Arizona. Despite the fact his introduction to Arizona took place during the heat of summer, Scruggs never left. On Thursday, he will be recognized at the UA's annual Service Awards ceremony.

This year, 993 employees who are marking milestone work anniversaries of 10, 15, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 or 50 years will be recognized.  

Scruggs, a University Distinguished Professor of English, never applied to work at the UA. He was recruited based on his work in 18th century British literature and his friendship with the head of graduate studies in the English department at the time. Soon after joining the UA, his focus switched to American literature and African American literature.

"I feel lucky," Scruggs, 78, said. "Not only by coming here but being able to get a good job and being able to teach as long as I have."

After making good friends and falling in love with the Southwest, Scruggs made Arizona his home. He attributes his long career to the congenial atmosphere among co-workers at the UA, his love for his office in the Modern Languages building and the chance to learn while teaching.

"I love learning," he said. "This job gives me the opportunity to continue to learn. No matter how much you've taught a text before, you've got to reread it and you're always coming up with new ideas and every class is different. So, it keeps your mind active. That's important at my age."

When he's not teaching, his interests include cycling and seeing movies. They don't include retirement planning.

See a list of those who will be honored here (PDF).

During the ceremony, honorees will receive awards corresponding with their years of service:

  • 10 years – Umbrella with the UA logo
  • 15 years – Set of four cobalt blue drinking glasses with the UA logo
  • 20 years – Set of four stemless wine glasses with the UA logo
  • 25 years – Mario glass pitcher with the UA logo
  • 30 years – Square glass bowl with the UA logo
  • 35 years – Glass carafe with the UA logo
  • 40 years – Handmade glass bowl by local art studio Fire Ranch Glass Works
  • 45 years – Small glass egg by Fire Ranch Glass Works
  • 50 years – Large glass egg by Fire Ranch Glass Works

Honorees unable to attend the event can pick up their awards at the UA Visitor Center through the end of December. 

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