Lightfoot’s Thesis Committee

Dr. Michael Leitner
Dr. Michael Leitner

Dr. Laura McLachlin, photo by Cory Hackbarth
Dr. Emilyn Sheffield, photo by Cory Hackbarth

The Humor & Comedy-Writing conference would not be possible without the education, events-training, and research support I have received through the graduate program in Recreation Administration at the California State University, Chico.

I want to give special recognition to the three faculty members who served as my thesis committee. They worked very hard, as they always do, but even more so because my submission ran more that twice the length of a typical master’s thesis. That’s not unusual for me, a hyperactive guy, but it was very generous of them to allow me to do the work I so dearly wanted to do, an in-depth study of The San Francisco Writer’s Conference. Their workload, thanks to me, was somewhere between excessive and staggering. But since they allowed me to “do it all,” I was able to document, through surveys, text analysis, and interviews, the degree to which the SFWC has achieved such success. It’s all about the sense of community that underpins everything they do. This was “baked in” from the very beginning, and has remained despite the challenges the organization has faced since it has expanded and changed leadership. That’s the subject of a different shout-out.

So, even though you may never meet the three people pictured here, I can tell you that you would not be enjoying the conference if it were not for them preparing me. I’ll still probably make some missteps in the execution of this event, that’s just the way it is with complex and dynamic “systems.” That’s on me. But so much of what I know and do, related to events, comes from their classes, and hours-and-hours of time well above and beyond what would normally be expected. I am deeply grateful to them, and I wanted to give them a shout-out on the eve of the conference’s debut.

You are the best.


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