The George Connor Speeches digital collection includes manuscripts and drafts of speeches delivered by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Guerry Professor of English. Connor dedicated his life to education, and in 1985, his colleagues, former students, and friends endowed the George C. Connor Professorship in American literature in honor of Connor’s 26 years of service to the university.
I would hope that in four years you would become so accustomed to the first-rate, so imbued with the “habitual vision of greatness” that you will never in your life be satisfied with less. I would hope that you would come so much to love good books, good conversation, good friends, good deeds, that nothing will diminish you commitment or less your enthusiasm. “The life so short, the craft so long to learn” I would hope that your minds and spirits would be so touched with imaginative fire that you would happily acknowledge that these years are only the beginning on your education, that your search for knowledge and touch are only the beginning on your education, that your search for knowledge and beauty would be, quite literally, the task of a life-time.
Excerpt from The Craft So Long to Learn address delivered by George C. Connor in November 1964
George Coleman Connor was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on September 2, 1920. He graduated from Central High School in 1938 and received in bachelor’s degree from the University of Chattanooga in 1947 after serving three years in the U.S. Army during World War II. Connor earned a master of arts at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College in 1955. After a number of years teaching in the Chattanooga public school system and founding the Adult Education Council, Professor Connor returned to the university by joining the Department of English in 1959.
Connor died on August 20, 2002, but his memory endures.