Distinguished Professor Emerita Dr. Lucia Cordell Getsi came to ISU in 1973, the year she received her Ph.D. from Ohio University. She had never seen Illinois, ISU, or anyone there, except the retiring chair who interviewed her in New York City and recommended her for an assistant professor position. She created a garden of forking career paths through her 33 years at ISU and beyond her retirement from her in 2006.
Getsi arrived prepared to teach courses in world, African-American, existential, and women’s literatures as well as her graduate fields—comparative literature, European romanticism, poetry and poetics, and literary translation/creative writing—some of which evolved into programs she launched and often directed.
She served as College of Arts and Sciences assistant dean and acting chair of Foreign Languages and on myriad department, college, university, and joint university committees. She directed and co-directed the graduate Creative Writing Program for two decades.
as editor of The Spoon River Poetry Review (SRPR), she connected with thousands of poets. Her production helped establish and develop the English Department’s Publication Unit, a national and local center of small press publishing that grew into academic concentrations and minors for students. SRPR and the Lucia Getsi Literary Reading Series she helps fund remains central to the unit, which attracts ISU national attention, funding, and enrollment.
Getsi’s career was interrupted many times by intense periods of family caretaking that have persisted through her retirement in McCormick, South Carolina. She enjoys her lake home and working as a master trainer and aquatic therapeutic exercise specialist with WaterART Fitness International. She has gained specialty certifications over the past 16 years with the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute.
Getsi is immensely grateful for how her career flourished at ISU and nationally. She became a distinguished prize, grant, and fellowship awarded poet-scholar-professor. She estimates ella having taught 40 different courses in more than 20 sub-disciplines during her tenure de ella, as well as master classes, lectures, and readings at more than 100 universities in 30 states.
Teaching was joy and designing new courses in emerging fields excitement. ISU’s support and encouragement from her allowed Getsi to turn her passions into research and classes into collaborative laboratories and communities of learning that will endure after she is long gone.
Getsi can be reached at lcgetsi@IllinoisState.edu.