Renaissance Center Named for Founder Arthur F. Kinney

Arthur F. Kinney
Arthur F. Kinney

The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies is being named in honor of its founding director, English professor emeritus Arthur F. Kinney, whose collection of more than 12,000 manuscripts, rare books, maps and other materials is the cornerstone of its library.

The renaming of the facility to the Arthur F. Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, which was recommended by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, was approved by the Board of Trustees on July 17.

On Sept. 18, Subbaswamy will honor Kinney at a special dedication ceremony at the center, located at 650 East Pleasant St.

Kinney, who retired last year as the Thomas P. Copeland Professor of Literary History, was a faculty member in the English department for 50 years.

“In his decades of service to this university, Professor Kinney demonstrated an unyielding passion for renaissance literature and culture,” wrote the chancellor in his recommendation. Through the center, he said, Kinney made his “most extraordinary contributions” to the university.

“Under his leadership, the center truly became a convener of interdisciplinary projects and a space for students, researchers and the public to understand and appreciate the Renaissance,” added Subbaswamy.

Since the opening of the center in 1998, Kinney worked with UMass Extension to design and install a “pottage” or traditional kitchen garden that contains authentic heirloom plants. He also oversaw the development of regular concerts, theatrical performances, community classes and reading groups, and the center is home to an annual Renaissance festival, which attracts visitors from across New England and beyond.

“Renaming the center that Professor Kinney founded would be a meaningful way to acknowledge his years of service to this campus and to recognize his effort in shaping the center into what it is today,” said Subbaswamy.