College Mourns Loss of Professor Emeritus Douglas Noverr

  • Post Category:Faculty / News
College Mourns Loss of Professor Emeritus Douglas Noverr

The College of Arts & Letters is mourning the loss of Professor Emeritus Douglas Noverr, who passed away on February 14, 2020. He was 77 years old.

Noverr was at Michigan State University in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies (RCS) and the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures for 48 years, serving as Chairperson for the Department of American Thought and Language and Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures from 1995-2007; Acting Chairperson in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese from 2006-2010; and Senior Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Letters from 2007-2010. He also served as Interim Chairperson for the Department of Romance and Classical Studies from 2015-2018.

“Doug Noverr’s legacy in RCS and throughout the College will be long remembered,” said Department of Romance and Classical Studies Interim Chair Anthony Grubbs. “He was a seasoned and stoic leader as well as a gifted storyteller. More than once, Doug took on the challenges of chairing the department and we thank him for that. He was a thoughtful and caring mentor to many of our faculty, myself included. I am indebted to him as he helped me become the professor, colleague, and person that I am today.”

man with glasses wearing blue button down smiling at camera
Dr. Douglas Noverr

Noverr’s research and publications spanned the fields of sports history and culture, film history and popular culture topics, and American literature. He co-authored or co-edited eight books. He gave presentations at more than 20 international conferences and was the Coordinator of International Conferences for the Popular Culture Association.

“With exceptional elegance of style and dignified demeanor, Doug led by example. As the department’s chair, he always saw problems as opportunities for improvement,” said Associate Professor of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies Saulo Gouveia. “He cared immensely about people and trusted deeply in everyone’s capacity to be the best version of themselves. My recognition is forever imprinted in the acknowledgements section of my first book, which would not exist had it not been for Doug’s perceptive insights and superb editorial work. To me, he’ll always represent the highest standard anyone could aspire to on how to treat others with respect, compassion, and equanimity.”

With exceptional elegance of style and dignified demeanor, Doug led by example. As the department’s chair, he always saw problems as opportunities for improvement. He cared immensely about people and trusted deeply in everyone’s capacity to be the best version of themselves.

SAULO GOUVEIA, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR

Noverr is the author of Michigan State University: The Rise of a Research University and the New Millennium, 1970-2005, which explores the transformation that the University endured as it became part of the Association of American Universities. From President John A. Hannah’s vision, the book details the rapid expansion, new opportunities, and the occasional crisis throughout the growth of MSU during this period.

“Over the years, Doug touched the lives of many students, faculty, staff, and administrators at MSU, and his dedication to this institution even brought him to write MSU’s official history,” said Associate Professor of Latin American and Chicano/Latino Studies Miguel A. Cabañas. “Doug was a compassionate and lovely human being who felt like an old friend from the moment you met him. In his role as Department Chair, he especially cared for people without power, and he advocated for and supported them. Doug was a humble leader and treated people with dignity. He taught me and others many things, but the lessons I will always remember from him are to be generous with the people around you, and also to stand up for the right things.”

In 1976, Noverr was awarded a Fulbright at the Institute of English Philology in Marie Curie Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland, as a Senior Lecturer in American Literature.

Over the years, Doug touched the lives of many students, faculty, staff, and administrators at MSU, and his dedication to this institution even brought him to write MSU’s official history. 

MIGUEL A. CABAÑAS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR

“Doug Noverr was an incredibly supportive man. He would see the best in everyone and help that person become better in whatever they were trying to achieve,” said Valentina Denzel, Associate Professor of French Literature. “In times of sorrow and sadness, Doug was a rock. He was gentle and kind and found the right words to console and carry you through hardships. I miss him greatly and I will always be thankful for his help and his caring manner.”

Prior to coming to MSU in 1970, Noverr was a Graduate Instructor in the Department of English at Central Michigan University from 1965-1967 and a Graduate Associate in the Department of English at Miami University from 1967-1970.

He received his Ph.D. in English from Miami University and his M.A. and B.A. in English from Central Michigan University.

“We are saddened by the loss of our devoted colleague, Dr. Noverr,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of MSU’s College of Arts & Letters. “He leaves a legacy of profound impact on 19th-century American literature and culture, popular literature, and historical fiction and will be dearly missed by all faculty, students, and the greater MSU community. Our condolences go out to his wife, Betty.”

There will be a funeral in May 2020 in Charlevoix, Michigan. Friends, family, and colleagues can find more information and are encouraged to share their memories at https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/east-lansing-mi/douglas-noverr-9038339.