Congratulations to Alton Brant, Joan Bridgwood, and Toshiko Kishimoto on their retirement! A party was held in their honor at the end of the Spring 2016 semester.
Dr. Alton Brant (Professor Emeritus, 1998-2016) developed the American Sign Language (ASL) program at Clemson University, the first and only public college/university in the State of South Carolina offering ASL for language credit. He introduced the Clemson community to Deaf Culture, and the faculty now train students in the discipline of interpreting. The Interpreter Education Program has directly impacted hundreds of deaf children (K-12) in the Southeast, training a new generation of interpreters.
Brant said, “I pinch myself orange and purple all the time. Coming to Clemson University was both a blessing and a dream come true. The former chair of the language department, Dr. Sandy King, and professor [emerita] of Spanish, Dr. Clementina Adams, had the vision to bring a visual language (ASL) to Clemson. I owe a debt of gratitude to them. They realized that millions of individuals throughout the world communicate through a visual signed language. Clemson is indeed a very special place and its students some of the best in the country.”
Joan Bridgwood (Senior Lecturer, 1986-2016) led the Russian program at Clemson for thirty years, took students to the St. Petersburg summer program, and taught Russian during the transition from the Cold War and the Soviet Union to glasnost and modern Russia.
“The first year I taught Russian (1986),” Bridgwood said, “the father of one of my 101 students would not allow her to bring her Russian textbook into his house, and when I traveled to Russia, conversations with Russians were stilted and in politically correct ‘peace between our countries’ language. During the 1990s, Clemson students studied Russian to take part in church missions, to speak the language of Russian friends, and to be challenged by a rich language. Many department heads later, and Russian studies circles back. Russian speakers and specialists are in short supply and I’m very grateful that Clemson has had the foresight to maintain Russian studies.”
Toshiko Kishimoto (Associate Professor, 1988-2016) started the Japanese program at Clemson and developed its minor, Modern Languages BA, and Language & International Trade BA. She has been the link between the university and the Japanese business community in Upstate South Carolina and a champion of Japanese culture in Clemson. Kishimoto received the Excellence Award in Teaching by Clemson University Student Government in 2008. She was also recognized by the Consolate General of Japan in Atlanta for her contribution to US-Japan relations, especially for her efforts as founder and principal of the Japanese Saturday School in Greenville, SC.
The Department of Languages is grateful for these faculty members’ many years of dedicated service.