Saundra (Sandy) Stubblefield says she remembers the first time she met Interim Dean Honora Chapman during a dinner in the Vintage Room.
“There was a professor at each table, and Honora was at our table. She just has a presence; graceful, happy and conversant. I was impressed by Honora.”
At the time, Chapman was a professor of classics and humanities in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. A short time later, Stubblefield learned that Chapman would be speaking at the St. Paul Newman Center on the crossroads of cultures in the Greek texts of Flavius Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian.
“She brought time, place and happenings all together like a painting,” said Stubblefield. “I could have listened to her for hours.”
Since that time, Stubblefield has caught Chapman’s speaking events from time to time. Chapman also became one of a handful of faculty around campus who Stubblefield deeply admired, such as Dr. Paul W. Ogden with his Silent Garden program, Delritta Hornbuckle, dean of the Henry Madden Library and Angelica Carpenter, curator emerita of the Arne Nixon
Center for Children’s Literature which has motivated her to donate funds and time to both areas. Last year, when she found out that Chapman was named the interim dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, she promptly gave her first donation to the Dean’s Council Annual Fund.
“That’s probably the most important thing I can do in my life is to give back,” she said.
For Stubblefield, her love of the humanities and the arts began with her mother, who she described as a “great reader.”
“If we didn’t have Arts and Humanities in our lives, it would be so dull,” Stubblefield said.
In her first year of college at the University of Arizona, she was a theatre major. However, once she learned about all the behind-the-scenes work she had to do in the theatre program, she changed her major to Speech and transferred to the University of Utah.
After graduating, she moved to Fresno in 1954 and became the Women’s Activity Advisor at Fresno State. She left Fresno State in 1967 and a short time later married her husband, Dennis, who also donates to several areas at the university, including the Bulldog Foundation. Since then, she still spends quite a bit of time at Fresno State. She is a founding member of the Arne Nixon Center children’s library and served on the Friends of the Madden Library board.
Throughout her life, she has been a fan of the University Theatre Productions and the exhibitions at the Phebe Conley Art Gallery.
“I think the arts give us not only beauty, but pose questions as well as portray reality.”
Reflecting on an article she recently read about an artist, she marveled at how the writer could draw so much from a painting. Things, she said, she would not have noticed had she not read the article. The interplay, she observed, could go both ways; art inspiring humanists and humanities inspiring artists in a way that breathes life into the past and vibrancy into the present.
“I look at it as a point of creation. The ultimate artist is God, and he’s given the ability for people to do these masterful works.”
It was this spark that she saw in Chapman. A way of personally engaging each audience member, which Stubblefield says goes beyond the lecture stage.
“Honora has a spirit of joy about her that radiates when she enters a room, when she talks, when she’s giving a speech or when she’s just sitting next to you. She’s focused on you,” she explained. “She is just an especially gifted woman, and she’s very human at the same time.”
Day of Giving is on Tuesday, November 17. Between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., we invite you to join the “Faculty/Staff Appreciation Challenge.” Just tell us about a College of Arts and Humanities faculty or staff member that has inspired you and use #FresnoStateDOG and @FresnoStateCAH.