Sad News: Richard Onorato

Dec. 2, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

I write to share the sad news of the death of Richard Onorato, a longtime member of our English Department. Richard had been living in Bonsall, California, where a private memorial event was held. Additional private memorial events will be held in Massachusetts and Maine.

Richard earned his Ph.D. at Harvard and joined the Brandeis faculty in 1966. He arrived as an expert in Romantic poetry, and in 1971 he published The Character of the Poet, a study of Wordsworth's poetry that drew upon psychoanalytic theory. But Richard was also venturesome in his academic interests and teaching, participating in various Humanities programs and adding courses on contemporary fiction. He was, as well, the first in his department to incorporate films into his teaching. In 1997, he retired from his tenured position and became an emeritus member of the faculty.

Richard was a highly regarded teacher and mentor. His devotion to students was exemplified by his service as Dean of Students. As dean, he established our post-baccalaureate program for students needing additional pre-med studies before applying to medical school. Indeed, Richard cared about students of all ages. He took a strong interest in adult education, joining with three colleagues to establish a special program of evening lectures on literature, art, and music. He also traveled around the country during semester breaks, giving literary talks to local chapters of the Brandeis University National Women's Committee.

Richard is remembered with deep affection by his colleagues here and by countless students. I know you join with me in extending our sympathies to his two daughters and five grandchildren and to his many friends.


Lisa Lynch


Lisa M. Lynch, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy
Brandeis University

assistant: Kristen Stevens,
phone: 781-736-2101