John Updike Childhood Home director moves on

Alvernia University professor Sue Guay, who has served as director of The John Updike Childhood Home since October 2017, has stepped down from that post to concentrate on sweeping changes in the communications program at Alvernia. Under new president John R. Loyack, Alvernia has created a second campus in downtown Reading and a brand new communications building with all sorts of amenities. The move from Alvernia’s current campus to the new building and all of the other adjustments proved to be all-consuming.

“Sue stepped up and agreed to serve in the volunteer position of director when we needed her to, and for that I will always be grateful,” said James Plath, president of the John Updike Society, which owns the childhood home.

“Sue did all sorts of things as director—everything from ordering blinds for all the windows and meeting repair people at the house, to going through exhibit materials with me and responding to security alarms,” Plath said. “Volunteer work of this nature is what keeps a project like this moving forward.”

Guay, who has taught communications at Alvernia for 20+ years, was the impetus behind Alvernia University reaching out to the society shortly after it was formed. At Guay’s suggestion, Alvernia offered to host the first John Updike Society Biennial Conference and was instrumental in the running of that first successful conference in October 2010. Later, when the society returned to Reading and Shillington for their third conference, Guay served as site director. More recently, she served as director of the 6th Biennial John Updike Society Conference. The society honored her with plaques for her work on both of those successful conferences.

Moving forward, Education Director Maria Lester will take on the additional responsibility of scheduling and supervising volunteers for tours so that the museum, which had its grand opening on October 2, can establish regular hours on Saturdays. Lester teaches at Reading High School and Albright College.

John Trimble will continue as Property Manager, and Dave Ruoff, who rents office space for his business in the single-story annex of the Updike house, will continue as Docent also in charge of receiving.

Plath remains the contact person for general questions about the house or society.

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