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New Neag gift honors wife's heritage
A new endowed visiting professorship will expand scholarship at the University in the areas of British and Scottish literature.
The Lynn Wood Neag Distinguished Visiting Professorship in British Literature is the result of a generous gift by Raymond Neag, '56, in memory of his wife, who died of cancer last summer.
Mrs. Neag was of Scottish descent and Mr. Neag decided to honor her heritage by making Scottish literature a major part of the visiting professorship. As a result, at least half of the appointments to the Lynn Wood Neag Distinguished Visiting Professorship in British Literature will be scholars who are of Scottish descent or are employed by a university in Scotland, or whose studies are focused on Scottish literature.
The first visiting professor under the endowment will be Ronald D.S. Jack, of Edinburgh University. His visiting professorship will begin next spring.
A native of Ayr, the home of Robert Burns, Jack has written numerous articles, co-edited a book, and produced a series of entertaining audio commentaries on Burns' writings. Jack has also written books and articles on, among other subjects, the Italian influence on Scottish literature, the poet Alexander Montgomerie, patterns of divine comedy in medieval drama, and the influence of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. He is currently preparing a biography of Barrie and studying the focus on the spiritual quest motif in British literature from 1300 to 1500.
"So much of what we teach originates from the British Isles," said John Gatta, professor and head of the English department. "Professor Jack is one of the most eminent figures in Scotland. His charm, wit, and intelligence will engage and challenge our students. We're very excited to have him here."
A former head of the English Department at the University of Edinburgh, Jacks has received grants from the British Academy, the Carnegie Foundation, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, and numerous other organizations. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Virginia, the University of Strathclyde, and gave a guest lecture at UConn in 1991.
Mr. Neag and his wife also created an endowed chair in the school of education and established the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development in 1996. He is an executive vice president with Arrow International, Inc., in Reading, Pennsylvania. Matching funds from the state will be added to Neag's contribution.