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Professor Ronald Wiginton: “I was attracted to the contemporary focus of the JMC curriculum”

Longtime journalist, experienced professor and active writer Ronald Wiginton has flown all the way from Chicago to teach the ins and outs of journalism to AUBG students.

Wiginton has been writing professionally for most of his life, selling his first newspaper article at the age of 18. He began his career in journalism right after graduating from the University of Florida and wrote for daily newspapers, magazines and wire services for 15 years. He has also been employed as a political columnist, state capital bureau chief and press secretary for a political campaign.

“Feeling like I had done what I could in journalism, I went back to school for a master’s degree in creative writing and then a PhD in American literature,” Wiginton said.

He has been teaching story telling since 1995, first at Florida State University and then at Elmhurst College in Chicago. This January, he will present a paper at a global humanities conference on the writing of American author J.D. Salinger.

Wiginton has always wanted to teach abroad and was looking for new professional opportunities. He stumbled upon an AUBG job listing and shortly after decided to apply for it.

“After just a little research I realized this was a perfect opportunity for me,” Wiginton said. “This school has an excellent academic reputation but more importantly a strong emphasis on a liberal arts education. I was also very attracted to the professionalism and contemporary focus of the JMC curriculum.”

Wiginton will be teaching two sections of Writing for Media and a Specialized Writing course in spring 2015.

The new JMC professor has never been in Bulgaria before.

“I still routinely trip over small cultural differences, such as when I recently ordered at a local restaurant what they advertised as ‘Chicago Pizza’ but was not anything close to being a Chicago pizza,” he said. “Overall, however, I have been mostly delighted with everything about Bulgaria and Blagoevgrad in particular. The friendliness of everyone has left a great impression on me. Despite my status as a foreigner, people have gone out of their way to help me adjust and, in some real way, fit in.”

While Wiginton is a prolific writer who has been writing pieces of what he hopes will become a book-length memoir and has just started a blog about his life in Bulgaria, he has also embraced a few other creative activities.

“I like tinkering with various creative projects, like woodworking and furniture restoration,” he said. “I make strange pieces of folk art using broken seashells and ceramic tile, and though I am not anywhere close to being a connoisseur, I brew my own beer.”

Story by Dimana Doneva
Photography by Dimana Doneva

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