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E&H Library News

Quest10s: An interview with Jack Wells

by Adam Alley on 2020-07-06T13:54:49-04:00 | Comments

It is time again to highlight another member of the E&H Campus. This time around I wanted to pay a visit to the History Departmentwhere I had spent my two years as an E&H student, and delivered my 10 questions to the one and only, Jack Wells. Once again, the following content has been unedited, unabridged, and uncensored for your enjoyment, entertainment, and curiosity! 

File:Face of a golden snub-nosed monkey.jpg

-at the request of the interviewee (his favorite animal), click the photo to be linked to this professor's college page; photo courtesy of

Question #1: What is your name, department and area of study, and an odd or unique fact about your field of study that isn’t commonly known?

Jack Wells, Department of History, Specializing in Ancient Europe.

Something not often known: the English word "history" comes from a Greek word "historia" that was used by Herodotus, the fifth century Greek known as the "father of history." When Herodotus used it, it meant "researches" or "things learned by inquiry." Since then, the word Herodotus used has meant the study of the past.

Question #2: Recommend a favorite book, movie, tv show and hit me with your best elevator pitch. 

Moby Dick. Ok, you're rolling your eyes. Lots of dead whales and a bunch of guys on a ship.  But it has one of the first intercultural friendships (relationships?) in American Literature: "I clove to Queequeg like a barnacle; yea, until Queequeg took his long last dive."

As well as some of the most beautiful and powerful sentences in the English Language.

"He looked like a man who had never cringed and never had a creditor."

"Who has but once dined his friends, has tasted what it is to be Cæsar."

"I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up."

"All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event—in the living act, the undoubted deed—there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask!... That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me."

And a very American view of God and the world.

"How now in the contemplative evening of his days, the pious Bildad reconciled these things in the reminiscence, I do not know; but it did not seem to concern him much, and very probably he had long since come to the sage and sensible conclusion that a man’s religion is one thing, and this practical world quite another. This world pays dividends."


Question #3:Do you have any pets? If you don’t have any pets, what is your favorite animal? Why?

I do not have pets. My apartment lease does not allow them. My favorite animal is the Golden Snub Nosed Monkey, which I have been told that I resemble. Please use the photo below, which I took from the internet and the copyright status* of which I am not certain, as the photo of me for the blog post.

*I strive to ensure every single word and request I receive while creating these interviews is published in full, I admit that the image used for Jack's photo was not the original photo I had been given, but to ensure correct copyright usage was used, I found another photo (still cute) to use. 

Question #4:What is your favorite food dish to make? Would you be willing to share the recipe?

My Favorite food dish to prepare is pan-fried fish.

Take a fish fillet or two, marinate in either lemon juice and pepper or soy sauce and red wine for thirty minutes. Get a 12 inch skillet, put olive oil and garlic in skillet and heat. Add fish and marinade, fry until done, turning over occasionally. The fish will be done when it flakes to a fork. Remove and serve with potatoes and vegetables.


Question #5:If you were to write an autobiography, what would be the title? How would it begin? (Please provide a sentence or two (or more), get as creative as you like, and have fun.)

The title would be "City of the Naked Damned." (I stole that from a guy I went to grad school with.)

Opening sentences:

"I have no idea how I got here. I have no idea where I am going. But here's what I remember."


Question #6:What initially drew you to Emory & Henry College? 

I was working a one-year job in Minnesota when the E&H job came open. I grew up in Roanoke, went to High School with a couple of people who went to E&H, and was happy at the prospect of returning to the region I grew up in. And it all worked out.


Question #7: What is your favorite thing to do on campus?

My favorite thing to do on campus is to sit in my office and read when I should be grading.


Question #8: How would you best define the E&H Community and describe what it means to you to be a member of it?

The E&H community is one of the most friendly, welcoming, and supportive communities that I have ever encountered, and I am glad to be a part of it.


Question #9:Will you be teaching online courses? Do you have any advice or tips for students who may be experiencing online courses for the first time?

I do not know yet if I will be teaching online courses this fall. Like everyone else I taught them for a few weeks in the spring.  Online learning is harder than classroom learning, and much will depend on the will of the students to take the time to view the lectures and do the work. But I would also like to encourage them to get in touch with their professors if they are struggling. We want students to succeed, and we are willing to work with them via Zoom or over the phone to help them out. So, students, get in touch with us if you need help.


Question #10: You have been given the opportunity to address the entire campus community; what words of wisdom, encouragement, or inspiration do you have to share?

My mother gave me some important words of advice to aid me when I am struggling, and I have remembered them always: "When in trouble or in doubt: run in circles, scream, and shout." I have used that advice many times over the years, and it has been tremendously helpful.



PieCam. (2012). Golden Snub-nosed Monkey [photo]. Retrieved from


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