Marshall Gilliland

Marshall A. Gilliland,  the second Fulbright exchange professor to MCSU,  in Lublin, was born in Cadiz, Kentucky, in 1937, did his undergraduate work at the U. of  Wisconsin,  at Whitewater, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington. The Gillilands were in Janesville, Wisconsin in 1960-61, and from there they moved to California, where his wife Mary was a graduate student at UC Berkeley. In 1968, the Gillilands moved from California to Saskatoon, where Marshall began  teaching in the English Department at the University of Saskatchewan.

In 1972,  Marshall,  Mary, and their  nine-year-old son Sean left Canada for Poland, where Marshall taught American literature at MCSU. The secretary of the English Department at the University of Saskatchewan received two postcards from him  from Lublin not long after his arrival. In a postcard to her dated September 19, 1972,  he wrote, “If students [at the U. of Saskatchewan] are unhappy about their place in the university there they should see the students’ position here—remember the serfs? But there’s a difference between them [the serfs] and the students [at MCSU]. There is no whip; and there is plenty of cake to eat. Cryptic? Not really, but my mind runs in quirky circles.” He concluded, “Oh well, it can’t help but be more pleasant soon. It’s an experience! Ta ta.” Marshall’s sense of isolation would have been heightened because travel to Lublin and eastern Poland by Americans was restricted at that time by the communist government. Fulbright exchange professors  needed special dispensation to live and teach in Lublin.

When they returned to Canada, in 1973, the Gillilands brought back photos and slides of Poland as well as amber.  A faculty member recalls his wearing the amber jewelry on social occasions. Marshall spent the remainder of his career at the University of Saskatchewan. He was among the first in his department to adopt the computer in his teaching, and he advocated its use for others in his profession in the journal Humanities. He was also a reviewer for the Canadian Review of American Studies. His wife Mary was a quilter, an environmentalist, and a birder, editing the book, The Birds of the Saskatoon Area. Marshall retired in June 1996 and passed away in November 2004, as Mary did in April 2010. Their son Sean, without whose help this entry could not have been written, is a Registered Nurse at the Royal University Hospital, in Saskatoon.

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