English Professor Named Dana Professor in the Humanities/Arts

In April, English professor Michael Twomey was named the new Dana Professor in the Humanities/Arts. The Dana professorship program began at Ithaca College in the mid-1970s, when the Charles A. Dana Foundation honored the College with an endowed fund to support several professors. One in the natural sciences, one in the social sciences, and one in the humanities/arts. This professorship is the highest honor the College bestows upon a professor, and the appointment is considered permanent throughout the professor’s tenure.

Twomey began teaching at Ithaca College in 1980. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1987 and to full professor in 1996. He has taught an impressive range of English literature courses on topics such as medieval literature, the English language, and the Bible. He has played a significant role in the English department, serving as chair and interim chair, and mentoring junior faculty. His colleagues note that he “has a habit of extending himself well above and beyond the call of duty,” and they appreciate both his leadership in the department and his gifts as a teacher. His students concur: they consider him “an incredibly knowledgeable man” who is “always willing to help.” Twomey is referred to, in short, as “an awesome professor.” He has also contributed generously to the wider College community. He initiated and contributed to Latin language instruction, played a pivotal role in the development of the master of arts in teaching degree, and served for many years as president of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi.

Twomey is also a renowned scholar with an international reputation, and he has published widely on Arthurian literature, Latin and medieval English language, and medieval English authors and texts. He has received many prizes and awards for his scholarship, including the James Randall Leader Prize for the essay “The Voice of Aurality in the Morte Darthur” from the International Arthurian Society (North American branch) and a Fulbright senior lectureship, which took him to the University of Dresden in 1996-7. Professor Twomey’s career provides the very model of senior faculty contribution to department, school, College, and profession.