President’s Update – October 9, 2009 — Walter Savage

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I’m deeply saddened to tell you that Professor Emeritus of English Walter Savage passed away yesterday. Walter was one of the most influential individuals in our history and played a significant role in our rise to distinction. He was a rare and extraordinary person whose talents and devotion changed the course of so many students’ lives.

One of the original faculty members when the College at Florham opened in 1958, Walter in fact taught the very first class offered on campus. The course was called Great Books and it included 215 freshmen, almost the entire student body! 

Among other posts, Walter served as chair of the English department, director of FDU’s Wroxton College in England and, during an important transition in FDU’s history, Walter stepped forward to serve as acting president in 1983–84. He also was very active with and served on the board of Friends of Florham.

For his important achievements, Walter gained many deserving awards. For example, he was the recipient of the Alumni Great Teacher Award, the University’s Distinguished Faculty Award for Service and was named to FDU’s Heritage Hall for his leading efforts in the development of the University. He also was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from FDU in 1984 and received an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Monmouth University in 1992.

Devoted to many cultural efforts, Walter worked as a volunteer for the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and for the Nature Conservancy. He also was active with the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, the Morris County Arts Council and Macculloch Hall Historical Museum in Morristown. In addition, he served as chairman of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

Susan and I had the special opportunity in recent years to become friends with Walter. I cannot tell you how much I learned from this great man and how much I will miss his counsel and his friendship. On behalf of the community, we express our deepest condolences to his wife, Patricia, and to his many close friends who mourn his loss.

We will hold a memorial service for Walter soon and I know many will join me then to pay special tribute to this wonderful man.

Thank you,
Michael Adams