Remembering Frank Kerins, Longtime English Faculty Member

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Frank Kerins, GSAS ’74, ’81, a native New Yorker who earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at Fordham and then shared his talents with the community as a professor of English literature, died on Nov. 8. He was 70.

Kerins began teaching at Fordham as an adjunct instructor immediately upon graduation. In 1998, he joined the faculty full time as a clinical assistant professor, a position he held until 2009, when he became a lecturer of English. He retired in 2016.

In 2003, when he was honored with the University’s Bene Merenti award, Kerins was lauded as the “embodiment of the ideal scholar drawn in Chaucer’s Clerk (from The Canterbury Tales).”

“Frank is erudite yet modest, a master of his field reluctant to display his learning but eager to share it, a teacher whose gifts come not from a desire to press student minds into a pre-cast mold but rather from an insatiable curiosity about literature and the world it reflects,” the citation read.

“To the English department, he brought a remarkable teaching presence, the full value of which has emerged only over the years. His encyclopedic knowledge of the Renaissance and Early Modern literature has become a resource for colleagues that renders the Internet superfluous.”

Mark Caldwell, Ph.D., professor of English, who was Kerins’ doctoral mentor and longtime friend, noted that he was also stellar in his role as the English department’s liaison to students on athletic scholarships—sympathetic to the challenges they faced, yet uncompromising in demanding their best work.

Research was not a requirement of his position, said Caldwell, but he nonetheless shared his vast knowledge in papers such as “The Deification of Corley in ‘Two Gallants,’” (2009), and “'Sounding Strangely in My Ears:' Foregrounded Words and Joyce’s Revision of ‘The Sisters,’” (2008), both published in Joyce Studies Annual.

Kerins is survived by his wife Loraine Kerins, his brother, John, and his sister, Mary.

This story was originally published in Fordham News, and was written by Patrick Verel.