Noted poet Sofia Starnes and chemist William Starnes to speak at UVa-Wise in April

Sofia M. Starnes, a writer of Philippine-Spanish heritage and recipient of a poetry fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, will present a lecture at UVa-Wise in April.

Her husband, William H. Starnes, Jr., will also lecture at UVa-Wise in April.

In separate events, the couple will discuss the highlights of their remarkable careers.

Mrs. Starnes is the poetry editor of The Anglican Theological Review, an international scholarly journal of theological reflection. She will read some of her poetry at Coffee Night, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Chapel of All Faiths on April 12. She will lecture on “The Role of Poetry in Creating a Personal Landscape” at 1 p.m. in the Chapel of All Faiths on April 13.

William H. Starnes, a 1950 graduate of Thomas Walker High School, will share his thoughts on the diversity of chemical careers and the interesting, sometimes colorful, people who pursue those professions during an April 13 appearance at 1 p.m. in the Science Center lecture hall.

The events are free and open to the public.

Mrs. Starnes has received many awards for her poetry. Her book, “The Soul's Landscape,” was selected by then U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins as one of two co-winners of the 2001 Aldrich Poetry Prize. Her full-length poetry book, “A Commerce of Moments,” won the Editor's Prize in the 2001 Transcontinental Poetry Award competition and was subsequently named Honor Book in the 2004 Virginia Literary Awards Competition. Her collection, Corpus Homini: A Poem for Single Flesh,” was awarded the Whitebird Poetry Series Prize and published by Wings Press in 2008.

Mr. Starnes, the Gottwald Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus at the College of William and Mary, built a career in chemistry that spans more than five decades. He has served as professor, department chair, industrial researcher, manager, industry and government consultant, and technical journal editor. His lecture at UVa-Wise will touch on the highlights of his 50 years in chemistry.

His groundbreaking research on the degradation, stabilization, microstructure and fire retardance of major thermoplastics, such as PVC or poly vinyl chloride, is one of the many highlights of his career. Part of the technology he pioneered has been licensed for commercialization.

In 2001, the Plastics Pioneers Association named Starnes, a graduate of Union College and Virginia Tech, one of the fewer than 1,000 individuals worldwide who has had the greatest impact on the history of plastics. His career is also chronicled in the Plastics History and Artifacts Program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. In 2008, Starnes became a charter inductee into the Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame.


For more information, contact College Relations at 276-328-0130.