Beaufort News

As Beaufort readies to celebrate his life, exhibits recall Pat Conroy’s teaching life

Lowcountry remembers Pat Conroy

Fans, friends and associates of Pat Conroy remember the legendary writer from Beaufort, who died Friday, March 4, 2016, at age 70.
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Fans, friends and associates of Pat Conroy remember the legendary writer from Beaufort, who died Friday, March 4, 2016, at age 70.

Tucked inside the lobby of a Beaufort arts venue this month are exhibits offering a window into Pat Conroy’s teaching life.

A photo essay of the Beaufort author’s time teaching on Daufuskie Island is on display at USC Beaufort Center for the Arts.

Another exhibit at the arts center includes letters, journal entries and other Conroy writing in which he described his experience learning, teaching and advocating for educators.

“This exhibit demonstrates how much Conroy admired, encouraged and championed educators and educational equality,” an event release said.

The exhibits are a primer for the second annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival, a four-day event beginning Oct. 19 in Beaufort.

The author of “Prince of Tides” and “Beach Music” died in March 2016. An inaugural literary festival was held last year, patterned after a weekend celebration of the writer’s 70th birthday in 2015.

The photo exhibit includes 1970 snapshots from Billy and Paul Keyserling of Conroy’s year on Daufuskie Island. Billy Keyserling originally composed the photo essay for a college class.

One of Conroy’s former students, Sallie Ann Robinson, shared photos of the class’s trip to Washington D.C. And some newly displayed photos show the Daufuskie students exploring Beaufort.

As part of the theme the “Transformative Power of Education,” the festival will include a tour of the former Beaufort High School building where Conroy once taught. And to mark the 50th anniversary of Conroy’s graduating class at The Citadel, the festival will screen “Lords of Discipline,” followed by a discussion with his Citadel classmates and professors.

USCB and Beaufort Theatre Company will perform “Conrack the Musical” during the festival, an adaptation of the movie made from Conroy’s book “The Water is Wide.” Bill Dufford, Conroy’s principal at Beaufort High during the 1960s, will speak after the performance on Oct. 22.

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Stephen Fastenau: 843-706-8182, @IPBG_Stephen

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