Dr. Leon Book
Dr. Leon Book, director of Southeast’s First-Year Experience program and professor of foreign languages and middle and secondary education, is definitely a believer in living a well-rounded and varied lifestyle, much like the well-rounded education of the University Studies program that he introduces to first-year students.
That variety produces a mind-boggling number of “labels” that one could associate with Book.
“Sports fan,” “Golfer,” “Racquetball player,” “Fisherman” – “I like all sports,” he says. “If it involves a ball or a stick or both, I like to play and watch. I’m a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan, and I avidly follow the fortunes of several college and professional football and basketball teams. I define myself as a “golfer,” “racquetball player,” and “fisherman,” but I don’t find time to enjoy them anymore,” he adds.
“Multi-lingual,” “World-traveler,” “History-buff” – “I am proficient in Spanish and my French is okay, too. I studied some Swedish back in the 1980s, and I know a little German – just enough to be dangerous,” he says. “I also like history and its artifacts. I’m a Civil War buff (I could get into reenactments big time!), and my wife and I like to tour historical museum houses.”
Book’s travels have included trips to Spain, France, Sweden, Mexico and Canada as well as destinations across the United States, including a recent road trip to New England. One highlight he mentions from his travels was standing under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in 1984, 40 years after his father stood there as a soldier in World War II.
“Reader,” “Writer,” “Collector,” “Singer,” “Guitarist” – “I like to read and write (professionally and recreationally), and I sing and play guitar for the praise band at our church,” he says. “My wife and I are avid antique collectors, primarily of collectible dishes, pottery and figurines. We are charter members of the local Hallmark Christmas Ornament Collectors Club, called “CollectaHALLics.”
“Gardner,” “Birder,” “Animal-lover” – “We have rather extensive flower gardens that we enjoy maintaining, and we plant flowers that attract the kinds of colorful birds we enjoy watching,” Book says. “My wife and I are owned by three little dogs on which we dote shamelessly. We like cats, too, but both of us have severe allergies to those fascinating little critters. Otherwise, we’d no doubt have a bunch of them too.”
“Romantic” – “I am blessed to have been married for nearly 32 years to a brilliant woman whose talents complement and negate my numerous flaws. The fact that she has gorgeous green eyes is a plus, too. We recently purchased a tandem bicycle and enjoy spending time together riding it.”
“Optimist” – “I’m eternally, unabashedly optimistic,” Book says. “I’ve been accused of being Pollyannaish, and I must admit that I’m often guilty as charged. I try to look for positives in situations, no matter how dire the circumstances.”
His optimism and enthusiasm for life have served him well in his professional endeavors. Book earned his doctorate in multilingual/multicultural education from Florida State University, and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in secondary education from Southeast. He has performed a variety of professional roles at Southeast since 1972, including academic advisor, director of orientation and teaching undergraduate and graduate level education and foreign language courses. He was promoted to professor in 1995 and currently plays a double role as director of Southeast’s First-Year Experience program and a professor in the departments of Foreign Languages and Anthropology and of Middle and Secondary Education. Book has made more than 60 conference presentations and authored 26 publications, including a beginning college Spanish text.