Dr. Corey Anton accepts two new awards for his work outside of the classroom


Courtesy / GVSU

Sara Collins, Staff Writer

Dr. Corey Anton is a Grand Valley State University professor who teaches courses like COM 600, COM 295 and COM 301. Although he sees himself as a teacher, his accomplishments go far beyond the classroom. 

Anton recently made a trip to New York to accept the J. Talbot Winchell Award for semantics from the Institute of General Semantics. In addition, Anton will accept another award in Seattle in less than a month regarding his newly published book “How Non-Being Haunts Being,” a book that explores possibilities, morality and death acceptance.

The GVSU professor always knew he was unique. While growing up in the woods of Wisconsin, Anton spent his childhood knowing three things: he is adopted, he has two different colored eyes and no one else around him also had the name Corey.

A vital turning point in Anton’s life began at the end of high school. Anton said he was sitting in a classroom at 17 years old and began to realize there was more to school than the social aspect. 

“I, for the first time, realized there was a person standing in the front of the room talking and I was supposed to be listening to them,” Anton said. “I thought ‘funny’ was what life was about. Then, I suddenly discovered ideas and books and I couldn’t get enough of it.”

Anton’s love for exploring new ideas through books and research bled into his college experience. By the time he went to college, Anton said he was like a third-grader that couldn’t get enough of school. 

Anton went on to spend the next 11 years of his life dedicated to his education. He received his undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin Parkside in psychology and communication. From there, he received his master’s of speech communication and rhetoric from Illinois State University. For his joint Ph.D. in interpersonal communication theory and phenomenology, he studied at Purdue University. 

His experiences at Wisconsin Parkside and Purdue was radically transformative. Anton’s love for his undergrad increased his commitment to help students through that same stage of life.

“I think an undergraduate degree is a radically transforming experience,” Anton said. 

After finishing college in ’98, Anton began as an assistant professor in GVSU’s School of Communications and has been here ever since. Although others may see him as a researcher, he still sees himself as a teacher.

“As a professor, you have three main areas: you teach, you do research and you do service,” Anton said. 

Anton’s recent J. Talbot Winchell Award for general semantics was given to him by The Institute of General Semantics, where he currently serves as the Vice-President.

He has been the VP for about 10 years, has been in the group for around 15 years, launched and continues to oversee their book series, contributes to their journal and oversees their bookstore housed on GVSU’s campus.

Anton said his love and understanding of general semantics began while studying his undergraduate degree.

“It is basic multidisciplinary orientation toward what is language, how does language relate to consciousness and culture and how does it relate to how we make sense,” Anton said.

Anton has written and edited several books, including, “Sources of Significance: World Rejuvenation and Neo-Stoic Heroism” and “Selfhood and Authenticity.” The third book in this series of monographs, “How Non-Being Haunts Being” recently won an award from the Spiritual Communications Division of the National Communication Association, where Anton has been attending since ’92. 

The book focuses on existentialism, a topic Anton has always been passionate about.

“The book is trying to argue that you can have a robust spirituality, I mean a profound grounded spirituality, not see oneself as an atheist, while simultaneously not believe at all in the afterlife,” Anton said. 

“I think there are wonderful scholars in history who tackled what I’m trying to reappropriate and make available but to just to synthesize,” Anton said. “To bring together different voices that make it very coherent that life itself is the good news. This is the miracle. You’re alive. To absolutely appreciate it.” 

One way Anton shows his appreciation for this life in the free time he has left is by juggling. He connects this hobby with his role as a faculty member for GVSU’s meditation club. He said that juggling is basically aesthetically pleasing public meditation.

Anton’s office is overflowing with books on several ceiling-high bookshelves, another aspect of his life that exemplifies his passion.

“It took me a long time, but I sort of found books and was like I think this is what I do. I sort of found myself,” Anton said.