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Life stories keep him turning (and sniffing) the page

first_imgThis article is part of a series on the impact of humanities studies in and out of the classroom.There has rarely been a decisive moment in Luke Kelly’s life that hasn’t involved a book.Kelly ’19 was homeschooled for most of his childhood in Pascagula, Miss., which included constant reading, from “Aesop’s Fables” to the short stories of Eudora Welty. He also studied piano, helped by a teacher whose worldliness and charisma still speak to Kelly from the (stolen) page.“That piece of sheet music I ‘permanently borrowed’ was the first book I consciously collected,” he said. “I collected it not to practice with, but to remember all that I learned from someone I so greatly wanted to imitate. If you open it up, you can still smell that house.”His study of “Schofield’s Definition of Discipline” during his brief time at West Point helped Kelly realize that military training wasn’t the type of education he wanted. When he landed at Harvard already in possession of what would later be honored as an exceptional book collection, he knew he had found the right place.“Harry Widener is my patron saint,” said Kelly, a history concentrator. “He lived this young life, died too early, and all people know him for is the library. But looking at his books and what he valued, I feel like I know him better than most people do because I see his passions. You miss the whole point if you just see he had a Gutenberg Bible. I know what kind of pipe tobacco he owned.”Such attention to detail reflects Kelly’s drive for connecting with the life behind a book, a passion his job at Houghton Library has rewarded and deepened.“I’d work there for free,” he said. “I’m interested in people’s biographies, memoirs, and sometimes people didn’t leave those behind … sometimes you get that sense of what they valued and excited them through the objects they left behind.“I’ve pored over Widener’s copy of ‘The Pickwick Papers,’ and it reeks of Latakia pipe tobacco. No one would know that unless you were holding it and sniffing it. Every day I’m there I find out something new.”Library assistant Joseph Zajac, Kelly’s supervisor at Houghton, recognizes a “genuine book lover and expert” in the Dunster House resident.“He’s a perfect learner, has a huge knowledge about books, and has excellent memory,” Zajac said. “I had a very similar enthusiasm when I was his age.”While in high school, Kelly began collecting books by the Alabama author and poet Eugene Walter, starting with “The Untidy Pilgrim” (1954).“It was the first first-edition book of his I bought, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of him,” Kelly said. “I then went on a mission to find everything he’d ever written.”The Walter collection earned Kelly the Harvard Library 2016 Visiting Committee Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting. Next came a win in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, which helped Kelly gain entry into the exclusive Grolier Club, a New York-based collecting society, as its youngest member.“I didn’t expect to get into it until I’m 65 years old,” said Kelly. “I’ve accomplished half my life goals.”Kelly also proudly belongs to the John Adams Society, a conservative-leaning club for debate of politics and moral philosophy.“There are monarchists, Hamiltonians — it’s not an echo chamber,” he said. “We have intellectual discussion that is informal and formal at the same time. We argue about the rules as much as the debate resolutions.”In both the John Adams Society and at Houghton, Kelly has found ways to connect the past with the present. That’s no less the case in one of his favorite fall courses, “History of the Book and of Reading,” where he’s found a like-minded professor in Ann Blair.“It’s usually a very moving experience for students to handle a book that is hundreds of years old, as we can in our wonderful Houghton Library,” said Blair. “Luke has the love of books written all over him, and he’s a very committed member of that community. I’m delighted that he will surely carry forward the love and knowledge of books.”last_img read more

East Carolina’s Carden overcomes obstacles to become elite offensive star

first_imgShane Carden hadn’t yet played a full game of junior varsity football, and he was already faced with a tough decision.Injured while fielding a punt, Carden had to choose between competing in the final six games with a cast on his wrist, or playing it safe and letting the bone heal.He didn’t need to think twice.“The first thing going through my mind is, ‘How long until I can get back out there,’” Carden said. “I just hate being off the field. I don’t know how to describe it. I just hate not being out there with my teammates.”Now the starting quarterback at East Carolina, Carden has experienced a prolific beginning to his season, leading the offense to 83 points and two blowout wins.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHe set an ECU record with 447 passing yards in the team’s 52-38 opening-week win over Old Dominion.Despite an overbearing father, being overlooked by coaches and more time than he wanted on the bench, Carden has become, statistically, one of the best quarterbacks in college football. His success stems from wanting to be the best athlete in a family full of them.“I was very competitive with my older brother,” Carden said. “He was two years older than me, and he was a very good athlete. I wanted to be as good as he was at that time, even though I was two years younger. Whether it was backyard basketball or whatever, it’d usually end up in a fight with him kicking my ass.”Along with his baseball-playing brothers, Carden lived in a household where playing sports was the norm. His father Jay had an eight-year professional baseball career playing in the farm systems of the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. His mother, a volleyball player, was the first female athlete ever to earn a scholarship to California Polytechnic State, and his uncle was the starting quarterback at Southern California.Carden’s attitude toward athletics didn’t deviate. He grew up playing many sports, but stuck with baseball and football more seriously in high school.So when Carden told his father that he was officially quitting baseball to focus full time on football, his father wasn’t happy.“I bet he had more ability than both of my other two boys that both played college baseball,” Jay Carden said. “When he said he wanted to concentrate full time on football, I didn’t know why necessarily. I hated to see him not playing a sport he was really good at.”Worried that his son might spend afternoons during the spring season at home on his couch, Jay Carden devised a daily workout schedule to help make sure he kept in shape for football season, said Shane’s mother, Scoti Carden.Although Carden wasn’t playing baseball, his father said he encouraged his son because he saw a lot of potential in him.“He would get the team out there working out in middle school in the summer in 100 degrees,” Jay Carden said. “He did the same thing all throughout high school. He always got better. You see a lot of kids in sports, they will reach a plateau, and they won’t ever get any better. I never saw that plateau in Shane.”Throughout Carden’s career, there were several moments that it appeared his plateau had been reached. In his sophomore year of high school, he was called up to the varsity team, but only to play cornerback. He finally earned an opportunity behind center when the starting quarterback got hurt for the year.“He never played (cornerback) before, but he wanted to do whatever it took to get on the field,” said Steven Leisz, his football coach at Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas. “He’s a gamer. That’s who he is.”At East Carolina, Carden was faced with a similar situation. He redshirted his freshman season and only appeared as a wide receiver once the next year. He lost the starting quarterback job before the start of his sophomore year.But when his competitor faltered, Carden stepped in. He completed 273-of-413 passes en route to 3,116 yards and 23 touchdowns. He was named the school’s offensive player of the year.Carden said even with the accolades and recognition he has been receiving since his ascent at ECU, there is still more to prove.“When you’re kind of underrated, to get over that and show people that you missed out on me, it’s always a good feeling,” Carden said. “There will always be people that say it’s lucky, but we’ve got to continue to prove those people wrong. I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder.” Comments Published on September 12, 2013 at 1:00 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more