University of Minnesota
Department of English

Department of English

Esther Freier Endowed Lecture in Literature Series

esther freierThe literary legacy that Esther Freier envisioned began in 2001 when celebrated author Jamaica Kincaid inaugurated the Esther Freier Endowed Lecture in Literature Series. A clinical laboratory chemist and professor, Freier had a deep and profound love for literature and the humanities. She wanted to leave a legacy that would benefit the public and inspire emerging authors. In her will, she endowed a lecture series that would bring prize-winning national and international authors to campus to give public lectures, visit with students, conduct workshops, or serve in other short, residential capacities. Freier wished for writers “whose work had made a significant contribution to humanistic inquiry through literature and literary study.”

Esther Freier was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, in 1925. She moved to Minneapolis while still a child and spent her entire academic (B.S. ‘46, M.S. ‘56) and professional career of 45 years at the University of Minnesota. She co-authored the first paper dealing with quality control in clinical chemistry, winning several awards. When she retired in 1991, she held the only endowed professorship in medical technology in the nation. That year, Freier served as the first woman president of the Academy of Clinical and Laboratory Physicians and Scientists and was re-elected the following year.

Esther Freier was a teacher, friend, and mentor to many. The English Department is deeply grateful for her generosity to us, the University, and the community.

Esther Freier Endowed Lecturers

Feb 5 01 Jamaica Kincaid Toni McNaron introduction
Mar 26 01 W. S. Merwin  Kent Bales introduction
Mar 15 02 Barry Lopez Madelon Sprengnether introduction
Nov 22 02 Edmund White  David Treuer introduction
Feb 9 03 Michael Chabon Thomas Augst introduction
Oct 10 03 Arnold Rampersad John Wright introduction
Apr 17 04 A. S. Byatt Gordon Hirsch introduction
Nov 7 04 Rita Dove Michael Dennis Browne introduction
Apr 15 05 Anna Deavere Smith Paula Rabinowitz introduction
Oct 19 05 Philip Levine Michael Dennis Browne introduction
Apr 11 06 T. C. Boyle Julie Schumacher introduction
Nov 3 06 Bharati Mukherjee Charles Sugnet introduction
Apr 11 07 E. L. Doctorow Edward Griffin introduction
Nov 28 07 Paul Muldoon David Treuer introduction
Mar 26 08 Suzan-Lori Parks Josephine Lee introduction
Oct 29 08 Junot Díaz Evelyn Ch'ien introduction
Mar 4 09 Louise Glück Charles Baxter introduction
Sept 30 09 Maxine Hong Kingston Josephine Lee introduction
Apr 14 10 Richard Powers David Treuer introduction
Oct 27 10 James Salter Julie Schumacher introduction
Apr 27 11 Natasha Trethewey Maria Damon introduction
Oct 10 11 Philip Gourevitch Patricia Hampl introduction
Apr 11 12 Denis Johnson Julie Schumacher introduction
Oct 23 12 Zadie Smith M. Fitzgerald introduction
Apr 10 13 Colum McCann Peter Campion introduction
Oct 15 13 Katherine Boo Dan Philippon introduction
Apr 9 14 David Mitchell M. J. Fitzgerald introduction
Oct 8 14 James McBride John Wright introduction
Feb 18 15 Lynn Nottage Josephine Lee introduction


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