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LWC Community Mourns the Loss of Beloved English Professor Mark Dunphy

Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 [9:43 AM]

Mark Dunphy

Beloved LWC Professor of English Mark Dunphy passed away suddenly on Monday, Dec. 12. He was 66. Dunphy had served Lindsey Wilson for more than 24 years. His area of expertise included  authors Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Joyce and Jack Kerouac. His work often received attention both nationally and abroad. 


COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Longtime Lindsey Wilson College English Professor Mark R. Dunphy, a literary scholar with a deep devotion to his discipline and to teaching, died suddenly on Monday, Dec. 12. He was 66.

"He was a brilliant man with a passion for his students and his discipline," LWC President William T. Luckey Jr said. "I remember him as a person who had a love for Herman Melville and Moby-Dick and one who presented frequently at national conferences on topics that were tied to this obsession."

Dunphy arrived at LWC in the fall of 1992. He quickly earned a reputation among students as a professor who pushed them to see familiar subjects in new and different ways.

"I obviously have a passion for literature," said Dunphy in a 2000 interview. "So I try to convey the passion I have for those writers to my students in numerous ways. Ultimately, I hope that some of that passion will affect (the students) and compel them to examine their lives and the world around them."

For much of his career, Dunphy wrote and presented papers to illustrate the intellectual connections between the American writers of the romantic period of the mid-19th century and the American Beat writers of the mid-20th century.

His area of expertise included authors Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Joyce and Jack Kerouac. He once said that he read Melville's Moby-Dick, which he considered to be the great American novel, at least once a year, and one year he read it once at the start of each season.

Dunphy's work often received attention both nationally and abroad. He was invited by the U.S. Embassy's Cultural Affairs Office in Rome and the Consulate General in Naples to lecture in Italy in fall 2004.

"It's rather exciting to know that the Beats' ideas are alive and well in Italy because they represented a movement that was not limited to America," he said. 

At LWC, Dunphy served on various academic committees, he was past chair of the Humanities Division, and he also served as faculty representative to the president's cabinet.

"I loved to see him on the sidewalk and to hear his distinctive laugh as we exchanged pleasantries," Luckey said. "He was a good man who loved this college and its mission."

And LWC students recognized Dunphy's devotion to teaching and the Lindsey Wilson mission. In 2004-05, he was named Teacher of the Year by the LWC Student Government Association for his "outstanding service to the students and the mission of Lindsey Wilson College."

"I learned from Mark about the mission of the College and saw in him somebody who loved and valued that mission of 'every student, every day,'" said friend and colleague LWC Professor of English Tim McAlpine. "He was somebody who very much cared for the whole person. In the eighteen years that I served with him, I always found him somebody who was concerned with me not just as a cog in a machine that needed to run smoothly but as a person. He provided wise, kind, insightful advice that helped me along my path as a faculty member.

Mark Raymond Dunphy was born Feb. 13, 1950, in Boston to John Dunphy, who preceded him in death, and Georgina Byers Cuthbert, who survives.

Also surviving: his wife, Judith Ann Ewert Dunphy of Columbia; a daughter, Gina (Joe) Collins of Columbia; two step-sons, Daniel Tishar of Columbia  and David Tishar of Breeding, Ky.

Other survivors include: two brothers, John Dunphy of Greenfield, Mass., and Steve Dunphy of Chicago; and two grandsons: Miles and Luke Collins, both of Columbia.

Dunphy earned a bachelor's and a master's degree from Lone Mountain (Calif.) College and a doctorate in English from the University of Tulsa (Okla). Before he came to LWC, he taught at Flaming Rainbow (Okla.) University. He was a member of the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Columbia, Ky.

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