RMU professor introduces “1917” film at Tull Family Theater


The screening room at the Tull Family Theater. Photo credit: Garret Roberts

Michael Delehanty, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP – Robert Morris University English professor Dr. Connie Ruzich introduced the newly released World War I film “1917” at the Tull Family Theater on Jan. 17.

Dr. Ruzich was selected to speak at the event by the Tull Family Theater, who recognized that her research expertise was World War I. The theater asked Dr. Ruzich to speak for about eight minutes, giving a brief introduction to the film.

Dr. Ruzich had always taught the poetry of the First World War, but became more involved when colleagues encouraged her to do conferences on the war as the 100th anniversary was approaching.

“I often taught the poetry of the First World War as an English professor. It is part of the British literature curriculum,” Ruzich said. “Then, in 2012 or 2013, I’d been doing some collaborative work with some British colleagues and we were pitching ideas for conferences and one of them said ‘you’ve got to do something on the First World War’”.

Dr. Ruzich would continue her research into the poetry and the war. She also won the Fulbright Scholar award. She would spend August of 2014 to January of 2015 in England, furthering her research on the subject.

“Dr. Ruzich is well-known and respected by veterans groups, such as the Veterans Leadership Program, and previously had talked with the Theater about her expertise in World War I when she attended ‘They Shall Never Grow Old”‘at the theater. So inviting her to introduce “1917” was a very natural step to take,”said Karen Ferrick-Roman, Director of Communication and Education at the Tull Family Theater. “Dr. Ruzich’s talk further cements the wide-ranging relationship of RMU and the Theater.”

The Tull Family Theater opened in February 2017. It has two screening rooms with a large performance space used for such events as Dr. Ruzich’s introduction. The theater is a non-profit and uses the funds to provide for the community.

“Working for and with the community, we connect patrons with experts of various kinds who are willing to share their insights,” Ferrick-Roman said. “Community leaders, professors like Dr. Ruzich, professionals in the various fields, add both context and local connections to films and their content.”