Former head of English and Media Studies Richard Corballis dies

Former Massey University staff member Professor Richard (Dick) Corballis died on Wednesday in Wellington, aged 70, after a lengthy illness.

Professor Corballis retired from Massey University in 2011, 21 years after joining as a Professor of English and head of the department of English. From 1993-97 he was a member of the University Council. He became the inaugural head of the School of English and Media Studies in 1997, when the two programmes combined.

He was elected to the governing body of the International Association of University Professors of English in 2001, the only New Zealand member of the association at the time.

In 2008 he was one of the first writers to be selected to for a six-week residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport, Auckland, providing him with an opportunity to work on a biography of leading playwright Bruce Mason.

Professor Corballis' former colleagues were saddened by the news of his passing, school head Associate Professor Joe Grixti says. "He is fondly remembered by all who knew him as a courteous colleague, a respected scholar, a much-loved teacher, and a generous and supportive head of school.”

Specialising in Irish literature with a particular focus on James Joyce, his academic career spanned more than 30 years and saw him work at the University of Canterbury University for 19 years before moving to Massey, help set-up the Albany campus and publish several books, numerous academic articles, reviews and radio plays.

He is survived by his wife Penny, of Wellington, son and daughter Patrick and Antonia. Another son, James, pre-deceased him.

Professor Corballis was interviewed by Manawatū Standard when he retired. The article may be read here.

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