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Two long-time English professors say 'goodbye' to the university

Loyola press release - May 18, 2009

The spring semester marked the end of an era in the Department of English at Loyola University New Orleans. William “Ted” Cotton, Ph.D., and Marcus Smith, Ph.D., both associate professors of English in the College of Humanities and Natural Sciences, retired after decades of service to the university.

Smith, also an attorney and a notary public, joined Loyola’s faculty in 1970. Throughout the years, he taught composition, the works of Walker Percy and Thomas Pynchon, Radical Form in Contemporary American Fiction, Structuralism and Literary Values, Modern Epic Tradition, Writing and the Law, and Literature and Justice. Well known for being a nomad, Smith has traveled and studied on every continent and has lived abroad in Colombia, Lebanon, Italy, Mexico and Pakistan.

According to Smith, he has taken great delight in challenging and engaging his students in debate, and in turn being challenged by them. He recalls with delight one comment on a recent student evaluation: “He’s sort of a crazy old man, but mainly in good ways.”

Cotton joined the faculty in 1968 and taught courses on the English Renaissance, particularly on the works of poets Edmund Spenser and John Milton. He also taught the utopia and epic genres of literature and has published articles on medieval subjects and utopia studies.

“I am proud to have served at Loyola for the majority of my working life,” said Cotton. My most significant rewards have come through my associations over four decades with wonderful students and faculty and staff colleagues.”

According to current Department of English Chair Kate Adams, Smith and Cotton will be remembered for their hard work and dedication to the university, and for the lasting impact that they have made on their students.

“In talking with many English alumni, I learned much about the continuing impact of these two men as professors, mentors and friends to their current and previous students,” said Adams. “They are celebrated for their dedication and the legacy they leave to their numerous students.”

Both professors will have projects named in their honor at Loyola. A portion of Bobet Hall’s third floor will be renovated to create the William T. Cotton Seminar Room, and the Marcus Smith Student Endowment will be established to fund student clubs and projects.

For more information about donating to either project, contact Karen Anklam, major gifts officer in the Office of Institutional Advancement, at keanklam@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5423. Gifts can also be made securely online at http://giving.loyno.edu/giving.php.

For more information about Smith or Cotton, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.