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In Memoriam

Dr. Elvin Holt, 2023

In Memoriam: Dr. Elvin Holt

In the hallowed halls of Texas State University, there once walked a remarkable soul, Dr. Elvin Holt. Today, I write this piece to pay tribute to and honor the memory of a man whose life was an embodiment of generosity, patience, hard work, and great knowledge. Dr. Holt’s impact on his students, colleagues, and the world reaches far beyond the confines of the classroom. I had the privilege of spending time discussing with Dr. Holt after his classes on several topics including academia, religion, and charity.
To me personally, Dr. Holt was not just a supervisor, but a mentor, a father, and a guiding light during my Fulbright assignment at Texas State University. I spent time with him in his office, in his car, outside University etc. His unwavering support and guidance shaped my academic journey and left an indelible mark on my life. He possessed the rare quality of patience, always willing to listen and provide valuable insights, no matter how busy his schedule.
Dr. Holt’s dedication to work was unmatched. He was not content with mediocrity; instead, he strived for excellence in every endeavor. His lectures were a testament to his high level of knowledge and his passion for imparting wisdom to his students. He had a unique ability to make complex subjects accessible and engaging, inspiring countless students to reach greater heights.
Beyond the classroom, Dr. Holt’s heart was as vast as his intellect.
He dedicated his time and resources to supporting needy students in Togo, a country close to his heart, yet more than 6,000 miles away from his home. His financial contributions opened doors to education for many young minds in Togo, giving them the opportunity to pursue their dreams. In doing so, he embodied the spirit of generosity, while recognizing the power of education in transforming lives.
One of Dr. Holt’s most remarkable contributions was his role in the creation of the “Association Togolaise de Lutte Contre l’Echec Scolaire, ATLCES” - an organization dedicated to combating dropping out of school in Togo. Through this association, he channeled his passion for education and his desire to uplift the underprivileged. His commitment to making education accessible to all knew no bounds.
As his family members, colleagues and friends remember Dr. Elvin Holt, I encourage them to carry forward his legacy of kindness, knowledge, and generosity. In our own lives, may we strive to emulate his dedication to education and his unwavering support for those in need. Dr. Holt’s memory lives on not only in the minds of those he taught but also in the hearts of those he touched with his compassion and wisdom.
Though he may no longer walk among us, the impact of Dr. Elvin Holt will forever resonate through the lives he enriched and the positive changes he instigated. I am grateful for the privilege of having known such a remarkable individual, and I encourage each person to honor his memory by continuing his noble work and striving for excellence in the world, just as he did.

--Komi Begedou, Fulbright Alumnus, Texas State University (2014-15)

Dr Elvin Holt with Komi

Dr. Elvin Holt

Dr. Elvin Holt with Komi Begedou, Fulbright Alumnus, Texas State University (2014-15)

Dan Price, 2020

Dan Price

It is with great sadness that I report that Dan Price, a Senior Lecturer who has been in the department since 2004, passed away on Wednesday. Because of the disruptions of the pandemic, I know that many of you may not have known that he was battling stage 4 lung cancer. 

Dan was a deeply kind and empathetic man and will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Before coming to Texas State, he received his BA from Notre Dame and his MA from Miami University of Ohio and then worked as General Manager for ICOM Informatics for nearly a decade.

His extensive experience in the private sector enabled his fine teaching abilities in our Technical Writing classes, preparing our students to do well in their future professions. He also worked tirelessly to be a mentor and guide in our Internship Program, which he founded, along with Marilyn Olson. His students knew that he cared about them; they recognized him again and again for how much he contributed to their success.

Here is a note from Marilyn Olson, “When I was doing the preliminary work for the internship program in English, I was impressed by how unanimously the senior tech comm people suggested that Dan Price would be a good director to start the program. I hadn’t interacted with him before, but I soon saw what they meant. Dan was Old School in doing things in a decent and respectable fashion. And he always came to other people’s ceremonies and receptions to represent the department. I talked to him last at Elvin’s street-naming party. He was such good help with the early English Awards Day receptions – I have a vivid picture of his purposeful pitching in when the caterers were late, the ice wasn’t distributed, we needed to pull things together. I think he must have always done this for his extended family. It looked like that. He was a fine man. A good man. His students – the interns – so often won top student awards. They were remarkable people – though some students Dan nursed through the program had never had a job and didn’t know where to begin. They grew. He was committed to their interests, both the remarkably gifted and the remarkably young for their ages. This is a loss.”   

Susan Morrison adds, “The news of the passing of Dan Price is a terrible loss to his family and a blow to our department. Dan-- invariably a considerate, courtly man--was committed to helping our students thrive and succeed. On the internship committee, I witnessed his determination to professionalize our students. At the portfolio presentations of his students at the end of each semester, he proved not only his kind mentorship, but also his ability to enable students to reach their full potential. I’ll miss his warm greetings in Flowers Hall. ”

Dan Price is a person who will be truly missed.

Visit Dan's Digital Memory Book Here

Arun Raman, 1985-2021

Arun Raman

Arun Raman graduated from Texas State University in 2018 with an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition. He was greatly admired by everyone who worked with him--his professors, his classmates, and his own students. 

Dr. Rebecca Jackson writes, "Arun will be remembered for so many things—his kindness, a smile that lit up the room, his quirky sense of humor, his curiosity, his love for family and friends, his optimism. We will also remember his fierce commitment to learning and to all those students who have been left behind, ignored, and otherwise marginalized in education. He dedicated himself to making sure their voices were heard and their experiences valued. In the words of one of his classmates, Arun was 'the best of us. 'Indeed, he was.'"

Arun taught English 1310 and English 1320 while pursuing his MARC degree.  Supervisor Dr. Nancy Wilson writes, "Arun was such an engaging, affirming, and enthusiastic writing instructor. It was crystal clear to his students that he cared about helping them become not only strong writers but also fully actualized human beings. A kinder soul you'll never meet." 

MARC grad Megann Kramer writes, "For his classmates, friends, students, and teachers alike, Arun was a pillar of unwavering support. No matter the circumstance, he made time for each to offer a compassionate ear, encouraging advice, wry humor, good company, and, as his dear friend Madeline describes, ‘worry-dissolving hugs.’ When he graduated, it was his absence that reminded me to check on our new cohorts and invite them to join us after class. Though his absence is one that can never be fully filled, I know all touched by his presence will work to bring forth even a fraction of the light we’ve lost in his passing, and that we can do so because of what he did for us."

Arun was currently working on his Ph.D. in Developmental Education program at Texas State University. 

Arun's nephew has started a charity drive dedicated to his MAMA (Uncle). If you wish to contribute, click this link and include a note saying "In memory of Arun K. Raman."

You can view Arun's obituary and post condolences here:

Martha Luan Carter Brunson Haynes , September 1931 – August 2020

On August 11, 2020, we received sad news of the death of Professor Luan Brunson-Haynes, our colleague, long-time chair of the Department of English, and Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts. Even as we mourn her passing, we value and admire her many achievements and contributions to the department, college, and university. She contributed significantly to the development of our department and Texas State during the last quarter of the 20th century.

Born Martha Luan Carter on September 29, 1931, faculty in the department knew her simply as Luan. She grew up in the small town of Anna, Illinois, until her family moved to Plainview, Texas, when she was in eighth grade. Later, she earned a BS degree at Northwestern in Chicago and a MA in History at Texas Tech. Subsequently, she taught junior high students in Plainview; high school and college students in Lubbock; and junior college students at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. She completed her PhD in English in 1967 at Texas Tech, having written a dissertation titled Toward Fin de Siècle Emancipation: The Development of Independence in Thomas Hardy’s Wessex Women. In 1954, she married Bill Brunson, and together they raised four children: James (deceased), John, Elizabeth, and Ann. Bill taught in the Department of History at (then) Southwest Texas State from 1965 until his death in 1988.

Luan started her career at Southwest Texas State University in 1967. She was promoted to associate professor in 1972, the same year she was named chair of the Department of English. In 1975 she was promoted to professor and continued her service as chair until 1983.

During the 1970s, she became quite active in service, with appointments to Instructional Council, Liberal Arts Council, and many other councils and committees on and off campus. During these years, she participated in two summer seminars sponsored by the MLA’s Association of Departments of English (ADE), and she held various offices in the Texas ADE – including serving as the organization’s chair (1975-1976). She also chaired the South Central Association of Departments of English (1977-1978). From 1980 to 1983, she served as an elected member of the Executive Committee of the national ADE and as President of the same in 1983.  

In 1983, Luan was appointed Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, a position she held until she entered modified retirement in 1998. In 1999, Luan earned the distinction of being named a Distinguished Professor Emerita. Subsequent to her modified retirement, she continued until 2006 to teach courses in our department. During the 1990s, she was a member of the core faculty in three NEH Summer Institutes that Southwest Texas State and the Department of English hosted, and she participated in a NEH Planning Institute that developed graduate courses and, later, Honors courses for a humanities sequence.

During almost forty years as an instructor and administrator at Texas State, Luan published essays in journals and books and read many papers about the profession and 18th- and 19th-century writers, yet in her later career she became intrigued by ancient cultures in the Mediterranean, especially Greece. She conducted extensive academic and on-site research, during the course of which she met, and in 2001 married, Richard Kent Haynes, who shares her interest in Mediterranean culture. Her project evolved into a work of fiction, the novel Ktimene: Founder of Civilizations – a work that, heroically, she saw to publication despite undergoing many years of treatment for a serious illness. 

Donations can be made to Texas State’s Brunson Family Endowed Scholarship in Literature in memory of Martha Luan Brunson Haynes. Checks should be made payable to Texas State’s Development Foundation and mailed to: Texas State University Attn: Advancement Services, JCK-480 601 University Drive San Marcos, TX 78666. Gifts can also be made online. Gifts in her memory may also be made to ovarian cancer research or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Wade Martin - May 2020

Wade Martin

I am so sorry to have to inform you of MFA graduate and Lecturer Wade Martin’s passing.

Wade graduated with his B.A. in English from University of Texas--Dallas in 2008 and with his M.F.A. in Poetry from Texas State University in 2019. Speaking of Wade as a student, Professor Kathleen Peirce writes, “I knew Wade as a bright, passionate, vocal student. In my Experimental Forms Workshop, he was wonderfully innovative, applying his deep understanding of traditional forms as foundation to his projects, one of which was his unforgettable ‘cento,’ where a series of scents were captured and arranged in a sequence of corked test tubes that also contained lines of his poem. He was always thinking, always open to talk about his thoughts. Our community will miss him.”

Wade was also an extraordinary writing teacher. Professor Nancy Wilson notes that even as a new Teaching Assistant, he already understood the importance of respecting the wisdom his students bring to the classroom and kindly pushing them to keep growing as thinkers and writers. Wade clearly held to this philosophy after becoming a Lecturer in Fall 2019; his current students have been reaching out to the department with words of sympathy and appreciation:

Mr. Martin was an incredible human being--respectful and always caring about his students. From the bottom of my heart I want to say, “I appreciate you, and thank you for making a positive impact in my life.” When I asked him for permission to finish my math final then to start his afterwards, he replied, "Yes, that's fine. If I were taking a Math Final, I'd want all the time I could get as well. Good luck!" Overall, let's be thankful and appreciate one another before it is too late. ~Kathia

I can’t even begin to start with how much of an impact Mr. Martin had on my semester. He was the sole reason I had faith in registering back at Texas State in the fall. I came in this spring semester on academic probation and was given the opportunity to retake the classes that I had failed (English). It’s because of him that I got my act together and buckled down on my work. The way he was so relaxed, yet so involved with his students is something that I think all professors can learn from. He was always willing to help with any situation or challenge that I brought him regarding the course. The class I had once failed just a semester ago, I now have an A in, and I give credit to him for being such an amazing professor, leader, and also friend. This is truly shocking. Please send my deepest condolences to his family. ~Kyler

Wade also recognized the importance of service to the department and the community. MFA graduate student Mindy Adams writes,

A few weeks before Christmas in 2017 Wade showed up at the Farmers’ Market with his trumpet. He had been staring at it all morning, thinking it had been too long since he had picked it up. Why brood on it? He found the market and played Christmas carols to the passersby for hours on one of the dreariest mornings of the year. This kind of spirit that turns an idea into action, turns a private longing into public gift, is rare in the world and needed. Wade showed up at market often after that, reading poems on the tailgate of my husband’s truck, singing the praises of whatever new collection he had found, organizing or promoting a reading: he could not help but share the joy of poetry. He was an inspiration to myself and others in this regard; contagious love for the things most worth loving is the work of good culture. We will miss him dearly.

Of course, losing Wade means we also lose a wonderful poet. Wade was selected by the MFA faculty to receive a fellowship from Texas State University English Department to participate in the Roundtop Poetry Festival, and his poem “Kerouac to Burroughs” was published in the 2015 Poetry at Roundtop Anthology. Other poems have appeared in Sagebrush Review, San Pedro River Review, Silver Birch Press, Bird’s Thumb, and Halibun Today, among others, with his poem “Susquehanna” published in Illya’s Honey being nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Professor Steve Wilson writes of Wade, “Always a committed student and writer of poetry, he was also a calming presence, offering his perspectives thoughtfully, allowing for other points of view, and respecting his fellow poets. He'll be missed -- by his colleagues and his professors.”

If you wish to contribute to Wade's digital memory book on the department's webpage, email Nancy Wilson,

Ms. Amanda Meyer, 1985-2020

April 6th, 2020

From Dr. Victoria Smith, Chair of the English Department:

Amanda Meyer, English Department Lecturer, passed away on April 6, 2020. A supremely kind and generous person, Amanda will be missed by everyone who knew her. 

In 2007, Amanda received her B.A. in English with a minor in French from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2013, she graduated with her M.A. in Literature from Texas State University. Her thesis “Exploring the Nature of Reality in Science Fiction through the use of Taoism and Advaita Vedenta” was directed by Dr. Suparno Banerjee. Amanda won Outstanding Graduate Student in English in 2013.

As an M.A. in Literature student, Amanda honed her teaching skills as a tutor in the Writing Center and as a graduate Instructional Assistant. She also proved indispensable as the Graduate Assistant to Graduate Advisor Dr. Paul Cohen. 

In Fall 2013, Amanda began her career as a lecturer in the English Department, teaching College Writing I and II.  She grew to become one of the English Department’s most loved writing instructors, always looking for ways to improve her courses in order to meet the changing needs of her students.  Jon Marc Smith writes, 

“Anyone can have talent or natural ability, but Amanda had something much more admirable: the dedication to make herself into a pro. She didn’t like being in even mild conflict with students, but she realized that their learning was more important than her comfort. She honed the rhetorical redirection—a kind of judo—that’s essential for teachers to have. She worked so hard at improving her skills because she wanted her students to think and write well and see the world clearly. That’s why becoming a better teacher was important to her.”

Amanda also performed crucial service to the university. From its creation in 2014 to 2019, Amanda served as the English Department’s representative on the Nontenure Line Faculty Committee.  In Summer 2019, she was also a participant in the “Space, Narrative, and Pedagogy” seminar.

Amanda’s mother has written the following to be shared with you:  

“I love and appreciate all of you who have been her friend, or surrogate auntie-uncle, or co-worker. Thank you so much for the love and support you gave her. The support of her friends always meant so much to her and helped her feel joy in life. You will never know how much you were appreciated by her, but I know, because she told me many stories about all of I love you also for being a source of joy & happiness in her life.”

Amanda Meyer's Memory Book

Dr. Edgar Laird, 1937 - 2019

A black and white photo of Dr. Edgar Laird, sitting in his office in front of his books.

June 19th, 2019

From Dr. Dan Lochman, Chair of the Department of English:

I am saddened to report that Dr. Edgar Laird died this morning at his home after several days of care there and after a long illness. In his last days, he enjoyed the company of his wife Judith, son Brennus, and other members of his family. He will be missed not only by family but also by faculty in English and across campus, as well as by thousands of retired faculty and former students. A memorial service is scheduled for 3 pm, June 28, at Pennington Funeral Home in San Marcos. 

Edgar was associated with Texas State University for more than sixty years, over half of its existence. He attended Southwest Texas State College in San Marcos as an undergraduate, earning a BA in English and History in 1960. As a graduate student, he completed an MA in English here in 1961. He then attended Rutgers University for his PhD, completing it in 1966. He returned to San Marcos the same year to teach Chaucer to undergraduate and graduate students. He went on to teach here for forty-eight years, completing phased retirement in 2014. Even after retiring, Edgar asked to teach a single class of first-year writing each semester until 2018, just so he could stay in the classroom: he and his students enjoyed the experience.

At Texas State Edgar taught more than twenty-two different graduate and undergraduate courses.  His careful preparation and concern for individual students as a teacher and thesis advisor shaped the intellectual lives of thousands, including the students in Mathematics, History, German and Philosophy on whose thesis committees he served. 

He was the world’s leading expert on texts on the astrolabe, the medieval navigational tool, in the Middle Ages. His edition and translation of Pelerin de Prusse’s Practique de Astralabe filled a gap in the scholarship in this area.  As one reviewer of the volume commented, “[W]e can now read Pelerin’s text with confidence and convenience.  A definite advance has been made.”  Dr. Laird’s writings include nearly thirty book chapters and articles, many linking medieval writings by authors such as Boethius, Grosseteste, Christine de Pizan, and Chaucer with scientific and mathematical knowledge. He received national recognition also while attending two NEH Summer Institute Fellowships.  

Edgar served the institution of Texas State with distinction.  As University Ombudsman, he mediated faculty issues related to grievances and conflicting interests.  He served on many important University committees, including the Tenure and Promotion Appeals Committee, the Executive Committee, and the University Teacher Education Council.  His various administrative roles include serving as English Department Curriculum Supervisor and Chair of the English Department Teacher Preparation Committee. 

During his long, distinguished career, Edgar epitomized the best of our alumni and the best of professors at Texas State University. He will be remembered as humane, collegial, a mediator and facilitator, a model for colleagues and students alike of a student-oriented intellectual devoted to teaching, and a thorough and profound thinker in his research. Edgar lived the words he often taught and repeated, taken from a description in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales about another scholar, the Clerk of Oxford: “gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.”

Mrs. Laird has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations should be sent to the Department of English, where they will be used to support a deserving student.


Dr. Lydia Blanchard, 2019

May 18th, 2019

From Dr. Dan Lochman, Chair of the Department of English:

Dr. Lydia Blanchard died on May 17, following a years-long illness.

Many faculty currently teaching in the English Department knew and/or were hired by Lydia during her 12 years as Chair of the department in the 1990s. She completed a MS and BS in Journalism at Northwestern University in the late 50s, and then in the early 1960s pursued non-degree studies at Syracuse University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Utah. In 1971 she received a MA and in 1973 a PhD in literary studies, both from the American University. In 1997 she attended a Management Development Program at Harvard.

Lydia was an accomplished scholar of American literature, with a focus on the works of D. H. Lawrence, their presentation of female characters, and their relation to sexual politics and feminist theory. She co-edited and introduced a special issue of *The D. H. Lawrence Review* (Summer 1988) and with former faculty members June Hankins and Mimi Tangum wrote the introduction to and edited *Writing Is Thinking—Writing Across the Disciplines at Southwest Texas State University: A Resource Guidebook for Faculty.* She published 9 chapters in books and 10 refereed journal articles, in addition to essays and reviews.

Dr. Blanchard was also at the forefront of grant-writing at a crucial time of growth for the Department of English. In 1997-1998, she was project director for a NEH Institute for High School Teachers ($129,450), and in 1990 project co-director for a NEH Special Initiative Challenge Grant Award to Endow a Distinguished Teaching Professorship ($100,000), an endowment that is the foundation of the current NEH Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. Also in 1990, she was the principal writer for a Meadows Foundation grant ($125,000) to establish the Center for the Study of the Southwest, receiving a $46,000 supplement for the same in 1990-1991. She was project director for a Ford Foundation award to broaden cultural and intellectual diversity on campus ($76,880), for a NEH award ($34,750) to sponsor the conference "The Spirit of Place," and for a Seawell Elam Foundation grant ($10,000) for mentoring junior faculty.

In 1990-1991, she served as acting director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest; she was Director of Planning for the School of Liberal Arts from 1988-1990 and 1991-1993. She chaired the Department of English from 1993 to 2005, having previously directed the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies from 1986-1990 and 1991-1993. From 1993 to 2005. As department Chair, she inaugurated many changes in the undergraduate and graduate curricula, helped develop the MA in Technical Communication, and achieved growth in other graduate and undergraduate programs. During those years, she also served on many university committees, including as a member and co-chair of the President’s Council for Women in Higher Education, and a member of a Presidential Task Force on Academic Honesty, a SACS steering committee, an Enrollment Management Advisory Committee, a Grants Administration Policy Committee, the Advisory Committee for the Renovation of Flowers Hall, Women’s Studies Council, and many others. In 2005, she received a Special Presidential Assignment to work with Jerome Supple.

Professionally, among many other accomplishments, she was President of the D. H. Lawrence Society of North America (1992-1994), and she served on the editorial board of The D. H. Lawrence Review (1984-1986, 1986-1993). She was a panelist at 4 conferences overseeing NEH projects and a reviewer for the Division of Research Programs. In 1991 she served as co-convener for the Evaluation and Dissemination session for NEH project directors. 

Lydia retired in 2007 and was subsequently awarded the title Distinguished Professor of English Emerita in recognition of her many accomplishments. 

Dr. John Hill, 1929-2019

A black and white portrait of Dr. John Hill.

Born in Winfield, Kansas in 1929, John earned a BS in journalism in 1951 and a MA in 1956. He earned both degrees at the University of Kansas, with his studies interrupted for two years because of his service in the Army during the Korean War. At the University of Kansas, he met Lucy, and they married in 1955. 

In 1960, he completed a PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Already in 1959, he had taken a position as instructor at Ohio University. In 1962, he was hired as an associate professor at Illinois State University, where he earned the rank of professor in 1977, the same year he and his family moved to San Marcos and then-Southwest Texas State University. At Illinois State, John had served three years as assistant head of the English department and two years as director of graduate studies. From 1975 to 1977, he was Executive Director of the Academic Affairs Conference of Midwestern Universities. After moving to San Marcos, he served as Dean of the Graduate School from 1977 to 1982.   

After 1982, John taught in the Department of English until he retired in 2008. In addition to teaching first-year writing and surveys of literature, he taught undergraduate courses on creative writing and a wide range of American writers, including Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Clemens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Steinbeck. He offered graduate seminars on creative writing, T. S. Eliot, Stevens, Frost, Bellow, Updike, and others. He published a book that was a checklist of the works of Frank Norris, and he published critical studies of Norris, Poe, Bellow, Emily Brontë, Updike, Hemingway, and others. He directed grant programs from the Rockefeller Foundation for training women and minorities to take university administrative posts; from Standard Oil for developing cooperative education; from the US Office of Education, for developing graduate programs, and from NSF for overseeing financial accountability of grant programs. 

At Texas State, John contributed service to the university both as Graduate Dean and as a member of our department. He served on the “Steeples of Excellence Committee,” the Teacher Education Council, Public Service Council, Internal Development Council, the Organized Research Committee, Graduate Council, and he participated in many other service activities, including announcing scholarships at the department’s annual Awards Day.

On behalf of colleagues and friends in the department of English, I express our condolences to his sons Rob and Ros and their families. John will be missed.