Interview: Dr. Charles Ernst, Advisor to Hilbert Horizons


By Mary Kate Wirfel

Hilbert Horizons is a literary magazine that has been published here annually  for 26 years. For 25 out of the 26 issues, Professor Charles Ernst has served as the director and advisor.

We conducted an interview with Prof. Ernst about how the magazine came about, and what goes into producing it:

What made you want to be a part of Hilbert Horizons: The question suggests that I joined the student literary magazine after it was a going concern.  Instead, however, I worked with students to initiate the magazine from scratch back in the summer/fall of 1990, with the first volume appearing in spring, 1991.  It seemed to me that most colleges and universities had an equivalent publication, so I thought Hilbert College should have one, too.  Fortunately, a number of students agreed with me and so did the Office of Student Life under then Vice President for Student Life John Kissel.  Sufficient funding and support were available; a student contest produced the title Hilbert Horizons (the imaginative choice of future student editor Madonna N. Groom); and during 1990-91, Hilbert Horizons became a reality.”

Why do you enjoy it?  “Encouraging creativity and imagination would seem to go hand-in-hand with being an English teacher.  Getting to work with students on something that they believe in, something that brings out their talents in poetry, short stories, photography, and the like, has been a great privilege and an undeniable pleasure.  Each year we start in the fall with a blank slate.  By late April of the following year, a new and exciting volume is ready to be shared with the Hilbert community.  It is always a fulfilling moment for all those connected with the magazine.”

What are your favorite memories of Horizons throughout the years?

“Reviewing the names from volume to volume of all those who worked for Hilbert Horizons over the past 26 years reminds me of all the positive relationships established outside of class with so many talented Hilbert students.  Nothing could have been accomplished without their effort and support.  Of the many staff meetings held, the festive December dinner meetings, where so much is annually accomplished, represent a series of stand-out moments.  Although we always had sufficient budgets, for several years (2002-04) we held three successive fund-raising Lord of the Rings reading marathons for Hilbert Horizons, which, in the grandeur of the enterprise each year, resulted in some of the fondest memories of my career.  Having said that, however, I am inclined to think that each year—at the end of a publication cycle—produces my most recent favorite memory, i.e., working with student staff and contributors for the year just past, as is true for 2015-16.”

Will you continue to be a part of Horizons for the years to come? “Providing good health continues to prevail, I am not planning to step down for the foreseeable future.”

Amanda Figueroa, student contributor to Hilbert Horizons: “Horizons is a club that allows students to submit their creative works to be published for the Hilbert Horizons booklet. Since this is my first year in the club, I am quite unfamiliar with how the club operates, however, it is very easy to learn. As well, as it being a ton of fun. I would really recommend it for students who are looking for clubs to join next year.”

The reason why I joined the horizons is because I enjoy poetry art and photography you may be suppressed but I do write poetry and short stories in my free time. It is also a good stress reliever for me. I am glad to participate in this club. It takes allot of work starting in September and October meetings begin and we begin to reserve poems, stories photography and art peaches. When the due date is reached usually around Thanksgiving the horizons staff puts aside their time to read and rate all the poems. Then in December before the semester ends we gather for two dinner meetings we read and grade the poems deciding witch ones will go in or not. The authors of the poems are all anonymous meaning we don’t know who they are until the layout designer starts editing the magazine.  This year the layout designer is Jennifer Gattie, her job is to put together the magazine using graphic design and editing programs on the computers. With a few more critiquing meetings to get the magazine just right it is then published and by April when the semester is winding down the magazine is out and free for students to take, read and enjoy. Another major job at Horizons is the Editor. This year,  Nicole Maiorana was in charge. This job requires you to keep in contact with Dr. Ernst and the staff also planning meetings and keeping the club, as well reviewing Jens work making shore everything is correct. With all this hard work we do I hope you enjoy the 26th issue of the Hilbert horizons which is available now.

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