UofM receives $606K bequest from alumnus and longtime educator Dr. Hugh T. Keenan for University Libraries supporting English 

Sept. 9, 2020 — University of Memphis has received a $606,000 bequest from the estate of the late Dr. Hugh T. Keenan, a 1958 UofM alumnus and distinguished professor emeritus of English at Georgia State University. The bequest will be applied to the Hugh T. Keenan Acquisition Fund for the University of Memphis Libraries – an endowment Keenan established in 2013 to support students and faculty members of the Department of English.

Keenan’s endowment offers students and faculty the opportunity to study a broad range of Old and Middle English texts, with a portion of the bequest designated specifically to expand the University Libraries’ book and media collections of Old and Middle English literature.

“Dr. Hugh Keenan’s remarkable contribution to support faculty and students in the Department of English is critical to helping us achieve and sustain the University’s mission,” said UofM President M. David Rudd. “We are incredibly honored that he’s entrusted us with his legacy, and we’ll work hard to live up to that trust.”

“To say that I am stunned by the magnitude of Hugh Keenan’s gift is no overstatement,” said John E. Evans, executive director and associate dean of the University Libraries. “Access to books and manuscripts is crucial for research and teaching. Keenan’s generosity enables the University Libraries to support the Department of English with the materials and resources it needs to produce superior linguistic and literary scholarship of Old and Middle English.”

Keenan’s bequest is a continuation of his more than 50-year commitment to the University of Memphis and its public mission. He earned his Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Memphis, then Memphis State College. Keenan was a longtime supporter of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the University of Memphis was proud to honor him as a member of the President’s Society, a program that recognizes its most generous and loyal benefactors.

Keenan taught English literature at numerous institutions, including the University of Memphis, and he developed a love for the English language that carried him into a successful career as an esteemed educator. In 1998, he retired from a 30-year career as a professor of Old and Middle English at Georgia State University, where he introduced the study of children’s literature to the English department. Keenan passed away in June 2019 at the age of 83.