Obituary: Charlie Moran, Professor Emeritus of English Who Led Writing Programs

Charlie Moran

Charles Moran III, 78, of Amherst, professor emeritus of English, died at home June 21 from the effects of acute myeloid leukemia. 

Born in New York City, he was raised there and in Rye, N.Y. After graduating from St. George’s School in Newport, R.I. in 1954, and from Princeton University in 1958, he taught English at St. George’s and then at the Choate School in Wallingford, Conn., before receiving his Ph.D. in English from Brown University in 1967. That year he joined the English department at UMass Amherst.

Arriving as a specialist in 18th-century British literature, he found his true calling in teaching writing to UMass students and tutoring in New York and Springfield. In 1979 and 1981 he directed two federally funded Institutes for the Teaching of Writing for primary and secondary school teachers, which led to a decade of work in Massachusetts high schools and creation of the teacher-directed UMass Amherst Writing Project, now the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, which he directed from 1994 to 2003. In 1982, he helped develop and then directed the ongoing university’s Writing Program, which administers writing classes for all first-year students and for all third-year students in their majors.

After retiring in 2003, he continued working with graduate students until this past winter. A dedicated supporter of the university and its mission, he also co-chaired the UMass Rising campaign committee for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

In 2003, he and his wife created a fellowship fund for Ph.D. candidates in composition and rhetoric. The Charles and Kay Moran Fellowship was renamed in 2013 at his request to honor professor Anne Herrington, who succeeded him as director of the Writing Program and the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. The Moran-Herrington Fellowship supports the recruitment of top quality Ph.D. candidates in composition and rhetoric.

Among his professional honors were the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1982, the President’s Award for Public Service in 1998, the 1999 Outstanding Teacher award from the Massachusetts Council of Teachers of English, and the 2003 Outstanding Technology Innovator award from the national Committee on Computers in Composition and Communication.

His publications include six co-authored or co-edited books and many, many articles in professional journals.

He leaves his wife of 51 years, Kay (Johnson) Moran; son Seth C. Moran and wife Elisa Wells and their two children of Camas, Wash.; daughter Amy L. Moran and husband Peter Marko and their son of Kailua, Hawaii, a brother, two nephews, a half-sister, a half-brother, a cousin and his mother-in-law.

A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the Moran-Herrington Graduate Fellowship in Composition and Rhetoric, c/o Lucia Miller, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, 104 Dickinson Hall, 155 Hicks Way, Amherst 01003.

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