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Ron Dorr

Professor Ron Dorr's 30-year career with James Madison College and his retirement were celebrated with several events in November 2003. As part of the celebration, the college, former students and friends of Professor Dorr created the Ronald and Barbara Dorr Endowment for Rhetoric and Humanities at JMC, which will further his legacy and commitment to excellence in undergraduate education.

Donate Online to the Dorr Endowment

Please view the videos and pictures below. Read student and alumni memories of Professor Dorr. Learn about the Dorr Endowment and consider making a gift.

Dorr Endowment for Rhetoric and Humanities Endowment Description (PDF)
Dorr Gift and Pledge form (PDF)
Retirement Event Videos

Professor Dorr's Old Office

Professor Dorr's Old Office

Professor Dorr's Old Office


Eric Petrie's Farewell Address

Dorr Farewell Address [words in brackets added after speech]
(On behalf of all Madison students who suffered under Ron Dorr's critical scalpel)

One score and ten or so years ago 
James Madison College brought forth on this land grant a new program, 
conceived in clarity and dedicated to the proposition 
that all writers were created badly. 
Now we are gathered to dedicate a small portion of that program 
[Ron Dorr] 
So that those who studied here may not have had low grades in vain. 

[It is altogether fitting and proper that we do so.] 

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, 
we cannot hallow Ron Dorr. 
The GPA's which here took a dive 
have consecrated him far beyond our poor powers to add or average up. 

It is for us, rather, the non-emeritus faculty, 
to here rededicate ourselves 
to Dorr's great task. 

[So that from these lowered grades we take increased devotion 
to the cause for which some students gave a full 4-point measure of devotion.] 

[That we here highly resolve that this College, after Dorr, 
shall see a new birth of clarity.] 
And that education of the Morrill Act, 
By the Morrill Act, 
For the Morrill Act, 
Shall not perish from the earth. 


Reflections by Alumni
Excerpted from Ron Dorr’s Retirement
Memory Book

“ Prof Dorr taught with zeal and passion.
His energy was contagious.”
Patrick Corbett
JMCD ’83

“ You made me want to work hard because
you worked hard. Every student appreciated
your commitment to know his or her name,
as semesters passed with other professors not
knowing a single student’s name. I remember
your intensity – rocking from front to back
on your feet – as you spoke. Looking carefully,
closely at the text, and I don’t think it was
to strain to see every word. You wanted to
SEE every word, every thought.”
Terrisca Des Jardins
PTCD ’96

“ Your calm nature was very helpful to me
especially as my early writing was so atrocious.
Instead of the harsh criticism that I
probably deserved, I remember only encouragement
from you.”
Suzanne Arbanas
IR ’86

“ I still recall the emotion and intensity that
you brought to class. You helped me become
a better thinker, reader, and writer. Your
class was excellent preparation for what was
to come.”
Mike Hamelin
Soc-Ec ’79

“… throughout my freshman writing classes
with Prof. Dorr, I knew that my abilities as a
writer continued to improve, and that I was
really given a gift of learning. I have passed
on the things I learned to my children, who
have been fortunate to have learned how to
write clearly and concisely at a much
younger age than I did.”
Julie (Klein) Teicher
Urban ’78

“ No matter how fraught or confused I felt
when I entered your office, I always left feeling
calmer, inspired, and having a renewed
sense of purpose.”
Amanda Sloat
PTCD ’97

“ If I can convey even a fraction of the skills
and excitement about learning to my students
as you did to yours, I will know that I have
Amy M. Wolaver
PE ’92

“ He encouraged thinking outside the box, to
create a character and perform; more than just
a speech, act a little, make the class believe
that you were the person that you had written
about. I hope that someday I will be able to
look back and feel that I have touched as
many lives that he has in his long career.”
Captain John E. Hill, USAF
IR ’97

“ I can honestly state, that as a former student,
your Freshman English courses were a major
highlight of my years at MSU.”
Jerome Glen
MM ’86

“ What the eighteen year old didn’t realize (but
what this twenty-nine year old realizes now)
was that Prof. Dorr was teaching me how to
write and think like an adult. He always
struck me as a man who was doing exactly
what God intended him to do, and who did it
better than anyone else.”
Doug Hyne
PTCD ’97

“ Every time my sister and I receive compliments
on the clarity or quality of our writing,
we can’t help but think of Professor Dorr’s
influence on us through MC 111 and MC 112.
Natalie and Alyssa Oldani
PTCD ’02 PTCD ’03

“ It took three terms and dozens of essays to
begin to reduce the red in the margins. I
often tell friends and colleagues about the
professor who regularly wrote more on my
papers than I did. You have always been a
‘ learn more’ kind of guy—constantly in a
quest for more knowledge.”
Lynn Marie Hoopingarner
IR ’80