The Loyola University Maryland community is celebrating the life of Phillip McCaffrey, Ph.D., professor of English, who died Oct. 16. McCaffrey taught literature and writing courses at Loyola from 1972 through 2009.
In addition to serving as director of the Center for the Humanities from 1996-99, McCaffrey chaired the department of writing and media from 1983-89 and the department of English, fine arts, and writing from 1978-1983. He founded the Creative Writing Workshop in 1974 and directed the workshop through 1989.
"We are all shocked and saddened by Dr. McCaffrey's death," said Gayla McGlamery, associate professor of English and chair of the department. "His passing leaves a huge hole in the department that really can't be filled, his interests were so various and wide-ranging."
Among the grants McCaffrey received during his tenure was Loyola's first National Endowment for the Humanities grant, which he secured in 1979-80 with his colleague Francis X. Trainor. Using that $50,000 grant, McCaffrey and Trainor developed a new writing sequence, Empirical Rhetoric, which combined composition and creative writing.
After graduating cum laude from Fordham University in 1968, McCaffrey earned his Ph.D. in English in 1972 from University of Pennsylvania with his dissertation, "Structure and History in the Chester Old Testament Pageants." He published dozens of his poems in more than 50 magazines, including The Antioch Review, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Kansas Quarterly, College English, New York Quarterly, and Southern Poetry Review.
A reader of Latin, French, Old French, and German with expertise in Medieval and Renaissance literature, McCaffrey wrote collections of poetry, including Winter Yield, Teaching the Door to Close, Kinker's Row, and Cold Frames, and books, including Freud and Dora: The Artful Dream, published in 1984.
At Loyola, McCaffrey will be remembered for his deep love and exceptional talent for teaching.
"When Dr. McCaffrey made the difficult decision to go on leave last spring because of deteriorating health, one of the hardest things for him was leaving the classroom," McGlamery said. "He loved his students, and he loved teaching them. He celebrated the exceptional students, but he also cherished those for whom learning could be a struggle. He particularly loved finding a way to bring out a shy student and help him or her to make a contribution. Managing that was one of his greatest pleasures."
McCaffrey's wife, Janet Headley, Ph.D., is a professor of art history at Loyola.
McCaffrey's life will be celebrated at a memorial service at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, in the Alumni Memorial Chapel on Loyola's North Charles Street campus.
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