Campus mourns loss of beloved professor

A kind, gentle spirit. An interesting and genuine person. A gifted teacher, writer and scholar.
These are just a few of the positive phrases used to describe Butler professor Marshall Gregory.
Gregory died of pancreatic cancer in Indianapolis on Dec. 30, 2012. He was 72 years old.
He is survived by his wife, Valiska. The two celebrated 50 years of marriage last August.
Gregory also leaves behind two daughters—Melissa and Holly—and a trio of grandchildren—Tulia, Rufus and Gregory.
Since 1983, Gregory has served a variety of teaching roles at Butler University.
Starting as an associate professor in 1983, he quickly became the head of Butler’s English department in 1989.
“He believed that college teaching was the best job in the world,” Paul Valliere, religion professor, said. “I was continually inspired and strengthened in my own work by his example.”
Just a year later, Gregory was named a Harry T. Ice Professor of English. This title expanded to an Ice Professor of English, Liberal Education and Pedagogy in 2000.
The title comes from a fellowship created in 1983 in memory of Harry T. Ice, who attended Butler as an undergraduate student in the 1920s.
Valliere said he remembers Gregory as a role model who promoted the liberal arts in an “uncompromising way.”
“He was a man who believed the liberal arts had something valuable for everybody,” Valliere said.
Marguerite Stanciu, administrative program coordinator for Butler’s Center of Faith and Vocation, took a class taught by Gregory in 2007.
In his online memory book, Stanciu reminsced how the two connected over a Canadian theater festival when she initially was just looking for help with a sonnet.
“I so appreciated his enthusiasm and connection to (the) Stratford (Festival),” Stanciu said. “A dear man, as we would say in Canada.”
Long before Gregory ever set foot on Butler’s campus, though, he had held numerous other jobs. Some were rooted in his career as an educator and writer while others were simply a means to an end.
After meeting his wife at age 17, Gregory took on many vocations to put himself through undergraduate school at the University of Indianapolis.
He served as a short order cook, shoveled coal, mixed mortar and worked in his college cafeteria.
This story essentially repeated itself when Gregory was working toward his Masters and PhD at the University of Chicago. He graded papers and held jobs as a construction worker, switchman for a railroad, steel lancer and firefighter.
In 1967, he obtained his first collegiate teaching post as an English instructor at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
He eventually became an assistant professor there before moving on to his alma mater, the University of Indianapolis, in 1974.
He was an assistant and eventually an associate professor in the school’s English department before becoming the coordinator of liberal arts in 1979.
In 1983, Gregory would again make a transition, this time to Butler.
That same year, he was named the national director of the Lilly Endowment Post-Doctoral Teaching Awards Program. This program included schools such as Brown, Yale, Syracuse University and Indiana University.
Gregory taught as many as 32 different courses at Butler at one point or another.
Jaima LaFollette, a former Butler student, described a Jane Austen course taught by Gregory as “one of my favorite classes at Butler” in his online memory book.
“His passion for her works created a greater love of those works in me,” LaFollette said.
Gregory did not simply focus on the works of others. He also created many of his own.
Gregory was an author or co-author of eight books, including four editions of the “Harper and Row Reader.” His last book, “Shaped by Stories,” was published in 2009.
He also published multiple articles on literary criticism, pedagogy, liberal arts education and writing and rhetoric.
Many of those who knew and worked alongside Gregory remember him as a man who cared about his students and his work equally.
“He had such enthusiasm for his work and took a genuine interest in his students,” former Butler student Grace Ingraham said in Gregory’s online memory book. “His pride in his students’ work knew no bounds.”


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