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Saint Anselm College English Professors Celebrated Shakespeare's Birthday at the first annual celebrationCaptured April 25, 1989, Professors Gary Bouchard and Landis Magnuson at the first celebration

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College Celebrates Shakespeare's 451st Birthday

April 22, 2015

Laura Lemire
Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7242

April 23 marks the 451st anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth- and the 27th year that Saint Anselm College will celebrate the historic bard's birthday. Students, faculty, alumni and members of the community will gather to read all 154 sonnets and act out scenes from Shakespeare's plays, and festivities will be ongoing from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Other events taking place throughout the day of readings include performances from the Anselmian Abbey Players, the Chamber Music Ensemble and the Royal Rochester Shakespeare Academy.

English professor Gary Bouchard began the tradition on April 25, 1989, with 75 participants. This year's celebration will take place on the piazza behind Alumni Hall with 150 readers. For the 27th year in a row, Fr. John Fortin, O.S.B., and Carol Vachon, a member of the business office, will recite a sonnet.

In addition, two sonnets will be spoken in different languages. Assistant professor of politics, Erik Cleven, will recite sonnet 79 in Norwegian, while junior Abdelaziz Alsharawy will recite sonnet 116 in Arabic.

This year's birthday celebration is sponsored by the English department, with generous contributions from Daniel Barrett '95 and Judy Wenners. The annual sonnet button given to readers was designed by MaryPat Devine '16, and of course, per tradition: birthday cake will be served.

"Quatrains and couplets contemplating the passing of time and love's losses, and free cake- what could be better on an April day?" says Bouchard.

11:15 a.m. - Act II, Scene V "Twelfth Night"
12 noon - Act III, scene II "The Comedy of Errors"
12:30 p.m. - Chamber Music Ensemble - and offering of early modern music
12:45 p.m. - Recitations by members of The Royal Rochester Shakespeare Academy
2:15 p.m. - Act V, scene II "Titus Andronicus"

After the conclusion of readings, students, faculty and alumni will gather at 6 p.m. in the North Lounge of Cushing for an alumni poetry reading and reception to celebrate professor Edward Gleason, on his retirement after 47 years of teaching and dedication to the students and faculty of the English department.

The presenters are former creative writing and poetry students of Gleason, and will be performing poetry and improve while speaking about Gleason's influence in their work.


  • Charlie Bondhus '03
  • André Demers '10
  • Evan Glasson '02
  • Christine Guarino '04
  • Brian Kelly '09
  • Sean Tinsley '11

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Story by Dominique Del Prete '15

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